It’s Totally Cool To Keep Crushing On Devon Sawa


“Can I hold you?” 

If that phrase rewinds a reminiscence tape in your thoughts, Devon Sawa was absolutely an enormous a part of your 1990s viewing habits. 

The actor ― now 40, married, and a father of two ― was the item of adolescent affection because the star of such mid-’90s motion pictures as “Little Giants,” “Now and Then” and “Wild America.” Nevertheless it was his dance with Christina Ricci on the finish of “Casper” that really lit younger hearts on fireplace. He was a blue-eyed, bowl-cut child with a spark, and Amblin Leisure’s Steven Spielberg wasn’t passing him by. 

“I put myself on VHS tape once I was 13, 14, for the a part of Casper and I feel it simply ended up on the proper place, on the suitable desk, on the proper time,” Sawa informed HuffPost over the cellphone. 

As he grew previous puberty, Sawa took on extra “rebellious” roles in Eminem’s “Stan” music video, in addition to movies like “Idle Arms” and “Remaining Vacation spot,” earlier than taking a much-needed break from the highlight. Then, with years of contemplation beneath his belt, he formally returned to the display within the sequence “Nikita” in 2013, and has been popping up in additional indie fare ever since. 

This week, he’s set to seem alongside John Travolta in “The Fanatic,” written and directed by Limp Bizkit frontman Fred Durst. (Sure, the one who did all of it for the nookie.) The psychological thriller follows a socially awkward fan, Moose (Travolta), who takes his obsession with celeb Hunter Dunbar (Sawa) too far when he dangers each their lives in pursuit of an autograph. It’s low-budget horror at its most interesting, and that’s to say Sawa continues to be wanting simply high-quality. He chatted with HuffPost about his teen heartthrob days and what it’s prefer to now have the ability to work with a number of the actors he idolized as a toddler star. 

“The Fanatic” is a warning to be cautious about idolizing your favourite celebrities, so don’t let me down Devon as a result of, spoiler alert, you had been my school-girl crush. 

Oh my goodness. That’s a lot strain to begin! OK, I’ll strive my finest. 

You had been on Bop journal, BB journal. A real teen cowl star of the ’90s. 

I do know it. I know it.

By 1995, you had achieved “Little Giants,” “Casper” and “Now and Then.” What do you keep in mind about that stage of your profession ― being a younger child however having a ton of success?

The factor with that entire stage of my life is, in contrast to lots of younger little one actors, it was nothing however optimistic. I bought to journey the world with my mom, and typically my father got here, and I labored for a number of the larger corporations ―New Line, Amblin and Warner Brothers. It was only a nice expertise, and it was lots of enjoyable.

And also you grew up in Canada, so had been you capable of escape the Hollywood insanity of all of it? 

Sure. That was the attractive factor about not having web again then. These magazines like Child Bop, BB, Tiger Beat, they weren’t massive in Vancouver. They didn’t come over the border and weren’t an enormous factor. So once I went residence, I used to be simply me. I used to be capable of be myself. I didn’t understand how massive all of it was down within the States.

How is it for you now, although? Rising out of the younger heartthrob section needed to be a troublesome journey, at factors. 

It felt like three journeys. The [young heartthrob stage] was a journey, after which there was a journey after that, which might be the hardest one. I used to be getting out of that exact stage of my life, the what I name, “not being taken actually severely as an actor” interval ― or that what was what I assumed again then. Then, I simply wished to do the craziest issues I may, just like the [Eminem] “Stan” video, “SLC Punk!,” “Idle Arms” ― something that will get me away from that Bop, Tiger Beat, entire heartthrob stuff. After which after that there was a little bit little bit of a break. I went residence for 5 or 6 years, I went to Southeast Asia with my spouse [Dawni Sahanovitch], after which I got here again and I’m on my third stage the place it’s way more grownup. It’s been … it’s been a journey.

It’s a unique world for actors now with social media. Do you ever think about what it might have been like for you as a toddler actor with Twitter, Instagram and all these folks with the ability to observe you?

Yeah, I don’t understand how I’d’ve managed. I don’t understand how half of those children do it in the present day. I feel it might have been lots completely different financially. I imply, we by no means bought paid for any of that stuff ― nobody bought paid for the magazines, it was simply publicity. And so, these days, these children have give you methods of turning it into one thing else. It will in all probability be lots completely different for me.

I’m certain you understand “Now and Then” simply hit Netflix, and other people have been devouring it. Have you ever seen an uptick in followers in any respect? The youthful era discovering it?

It’s been such a optimistic expertise. It’s a terrific film, and it’s bought a little bit warmth once more with folks seeing it for the primary time or revisiting it. That’s cool to look at. I see lots of people inform me about how they’re displaying the film to their children and the way their children are falling in love with it. A few of the forged and producers and the director went and noticed it at Santa Monica’s Aero Theatre [in California], and all of us stated it simply stands the check of time. 

Do you’ve got a favourite scene from that film?

I must say the scene with Christina [Ricci] and I on the swing, the kiss scene, simply because I feel we had such nice chemistry and he or she’s such a terrific actress. I keep in mind it being so enjoyable to shoot as a result of it was simply flowing. All people was liking it ― the crew, the forged ― everyone was simply digging it.

You and Christina had achieved “Casper” collectively too, so that you already had that connection, I’m assuming. 

Yeah, however there was one other child [Malachi Pearson] who did the voice of Casper and he was there for like three months doing the lion’s share of the work. I simply confirmed up for a few days and did that final 30 to 45 seconds. So Christina and I didn’t get to know one another that properly, however she instructed me for “Now and Then,” and that’s after we actually bought to know one another. 

[Editor’s note: Sawa already confirmed he and Ricci never dated, sorry.] 

“The Fanatic” focuses on one fast fan’s obsession together with his favourite celeb. This fan encounter, nevertheless, goes horribly, horribly flawed. Inform me, how did you come to seem in a Limp Bizkit-y thriller starring John Travolta? Do you know Fred Durst? 

I didn’t know Fred in any respect. What occurred is I’d achieved a film [“Life on the Line”] with John Travolta just a few years again and, you understand, it was a superb film, it simply didn’t achieve this properly. However we loved working with one another and he was set to do that film and instructed me for it. Fred wasn’t offered all the way in which, so I went right down to a studio and I laid all of the scenes down ― each single scene you see within the film was placed on an audition tape and despatched to Fred. Then, Fred spent every week with it the place I begged, pleaded, my supervisor bought on the cellphone with him. I principally needed to struggle to win the function, and I did. 

I don’t suppose folks would mechanically suppose that Durst would direct motion pictures, however he’s fairly a proficient filmmaker. Did you’re feeling this film was going to be one thing completely different while you bought the pitch? 

He did “The Training of Charlie Banks,” after which additionally “Longshots” with Ice Dice. These are each nice movies and I feel he simply stayed beneath the radar for each of them. He’s a strong director, and cussed in an artist’s approach: He needed to have his director of pictures, he needed to have the wardrobe the way in which it was, he needed to have the lighting a sure approach. He was cussed in one of the best ways an artist might be and it exhibits. Hollywood is form of missing that [artist’s approach] lots proper now, and that’s what I feel this movie is ― a kind of arthouse motion pictures with a small theatrical run that hopefully will get some legs and goes.

Fred Durst and Devon Sawa on the set of "The Fanatic." 

Fred Durst and Devon Sawa on the set of “The Fanatic.” 

John Travolta fully transforms for this function. It’s fairly spectacular, and horrifying.

He was wonderful. The film I did with him a pair years in the past, he was only a regular, nice actor who confirmed up and did his work. We collaborated and did that entire factor. However this was the primary time within the 30-something years I’ve labored the place I’ve seen an actor keep in character. He got here to set and everyone was instructed to name him Moose. He went to craft providers as Moose. He got here out of his trailer as Moose. He talked to the crew as Moose. He would stroll forwards and backwards like Moose. It was weird and galvanizing.

That sounds a little bit bit creepy!

It was creepy. He would pull on his ear and sniff his finger like Moose. He had all of these items that he thought this man can be doing. After which, on prime of that, you’ve got Fred Durst’s form of Limp Bizkit vitality happening that all of it introduced the world collectively.

This fan encounter goes past your character’s consolation stage, and the state of affairs implodes. The place did you pull inspiration from to get into the mindset of Hunter Dunbar?

We tried to take a look at the celebrities who’ve been pushed over the sting and flipped out ― the Alec Baldwins, the Sean Penns. They’ve been tormented a lot that they’ve that second the place they lose it on a paparazzi or a fan that’s gone a little bit bit too far. That’s form of the place we went with this man, you understand what I imply? And he’s bought so many points happening in his life: he’s bought issues together with his spouse, he’s bought issues together with his agent, he’s bought issues with the maid. Then to place this loopy man, who simply exhibits up at his home asking for his autograph, on prime of all of it, it’s only a breaking level. 

Did you ever have encounters with followers the place you possibly felt uncomfortable? 

I’ve by no means been in a state of affairs like that. I don’t know whether or not it’s the Canadian in me or whatnot? At any time when somebody approaches me on the airport for an autograph or an image, I give it to them. I’m cool like that. However I’ve been with actors who won’t take an image with anyone. They’ve simply had sufficient they usually’re grumpy they usually’ve bought a little bit little bit of a chip on their shoulder, in order that’s kind of what I went for with this.

I’m certain as a public determine it’s laborious to discover a stability between your skilled and private lives, particularly being a mum or dad now. 

There must be area, 100%. 

Is it kind of meta so that you can be part of this undertaking because it addresses the trade you’re in?

Yeah, you understand what? I had simply achieved a kind of fan conventions and you may see the place this man may exist on the earth. There’s really a real-life Moose man the movie relies loosely on, and you may see how that man may go a bit too far.

How was it so that you can be again in that “Remaining Vacation spot” vibe? The suspense, the gore. 

It was good to be in that horror form of world once more. The buckets of blood, the prosthetic palms, the prosthetic eyeballs. And it was additionally actually phenomenal to have A-plus expertise round, between Fred and John. It simply felt good to be on set jamming with the professionals.

Is that one thing you wish to do on this third stage of your profession, deal with working with artists that problem you? 

The rationale I stop the enterprise was I used to be not in a superb headspace. I used to be not in a superb place. And once I got here again, I wished to return again by myself phrases. I wished to do issues that made me completely happy and made me wish to hold doing this so I’d by no means get to a spot the place I used to be simply doing issues for cash. For example, I did a film with Man Pearce [“Disturbing the Peace”] since I’d been a fan of his for such a very long time. And the script was a two-hander with simply Man Pearce and I jamming on wonderful materials. And earlier than that there was a factor with Sharon Stone the place she performs my cracked out mom [“Life on the Line.”] I imply, that is simply stuff that actually makes me wish to go to work, you understand?

I’m certain the younger Devon Sawa in you is like, “I get to work with Sharon Stone?!” 

You don’t have any concept! It was the best two days of my life. And it was Sharon Stone in like a model of “On line casino.” After we wrapped, I used to be a contented man.

“The Fanatic” is in theaters Aug. 30 and on Digital and On Demand Sept. 6.

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