Devon Sawa: Why He Left Hollywood for Five Years — and Why He Came Back

Devon Sawa Somewhere Between
ABC's ‘Somewhere Between’ stars Devon Sawa as Nico Santiago Bob D'Amico/ABC

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.”

Devon Sawa and Paula Patton Somewhere Between
Devon Sawa and Paula Patton on ‘Somewhere Between’ Eike Schroter/ABC

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. 

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