Devon Sawa appeared in a string of beloved coming-of-age movies, starred in a hit thriller and was a ’90s teen heartthrob, but at the age of 25 he decided to say goodbye to Hollywood. The actor opened up about his decision to leave — and what drew him back — in an exclusive interview with Us Weekly.
“At 25 years old I stepped away from the business for five years and most of the time didn’t know whether I was going to come back or not,” Sawa, 39, tells Us. “I had done a series of four or five indie movies that I wasn’t necessarily proud of. Some were horror movies. After Final Destination everybody wanted me to do horror movies and some weren’t as good as others. I was just burnt out.”
Sawa had been working since he was 11 — and he only returned by chance. “I was brought back into the business by accident. Somebody at my agency didn’t get the memo that I quit and sent me an audition and I put myself on tape and that was it,” the Casper star explains to Us. “I didn’t get it. It was for the Max Payne movie with Mark Wahlberg. But I did really well and the casting director wanted to meet me and I did. I thought, ‘You know what, this is what I love. This is what I really want to do.’ So I don’t know why I stepped away in the first place.”
He adds: “I think if somebody hadn’t had sent me that audition I think that I may still be out of it. I was happy what I was doing but I’m happier now. I’m happier back doing what I really love.”
And right now, Dawa is focused on the ABC drama Somewhere Between, which also stars Paula Patton. He plays Nico Jackson, a former cop turned private investigator who is given the chance to go back and change a tragic event in his life.
“The writing drew me to it. I read the first script and I was looking for something different. I was just about to go into pilot season and do that whole craziness. This came out before it and I read it and the last few pages of the first script I was hooked. It was that thing I was looking for. The show with the cliffhangers that keep you on your toes,” Sawa tells Us. “This particular role I spent a lot of time with the dialogue. I went to Vancouver and walked by myself looking like a complete nut ball [getting into character]. That was kind of the process.”
For more, read the rest of his Q&A below:
US: What was it like working with Paula?
DS: Great! She’s very dedicated to the role. From the day I met her she had a million ideas and she liked to discuss things and she really got into it. She had her headphones on in-between scenes. She was emotionally there and she was very interesting to work with. She’s fun.
US: Do you strategically try to take roles that are different than what people are used to seeing you in?
DS: Yea, I take roles now that I just want to do. I don’t really think about where they are going to take me. I just want to do stuff that I want to do. I just got a movie that I’m going to start shooting in a couple of weeks that I can’t really talk about but I’m giddy because if I told myself at 12 years old that I was going to do this movie I would have lost my shit. Lost my mind. I have a huge fight scene with one of my childhood idol. It’s going to be amazing.
US: What’s a well-known role that you went for but didn’t get?
DS: The Tobey Maguire Spider-Man. I met with Sam Raimi and I was one of the last few guys and of course Tobey got it and was phenomenal in it. I would have loved to have gotten that. I think that’s the biggest one.
US: What are three must-haves you need in your trailer?
DS: I’m not that guy! I just need a place that’s a little quiet before I go in and other than that I don’t have anything that I need. I’m not the Skittles with no red in a bowl or sparkling water kind of guy.
Somewhere Between airs Tuesdays on ABC at 10 p.m. ET.
For the latest celebrity entertainment, news and lifestyle videos, subscribe to Us Weekly’s YouTube Page.
Sign up now for the Us Weekly newsletter to get breaking celebrity news, hot pics and more delivered straight to your inbox!