Blonde, blue-eyed, and bearing the kind of glossy looks that lend themselves equally to teen idoldom and Noxema spokesmanship, Devon Sawa was one of the young actors to coast into the pop culture consciousness on the late-1990s wave of Hollywood teensploitation. Born in Vancouver, British Columbia, on September 7, 1978, Sawa developed an interest in acting when he appeared in a few kindergarten plays. Following work in local theatrical productions, the young actor secured an agent and began making appearances on various Canadian TV shows. Tiring of television, he broke into film with the 1994 kids' comedy Little Giants, in which he played the quarterback of a misfit football team.
A small but apparently very memorable role as the human incarnation of the titular ghost in Casper (1995) made Sawa immensely popular with any number of teenage girls; his popularity received an additional boost that same year, thanks to his role as the neighborhood bully who locks lips with Christina Ricci in Now and Then (the two had previously shared a screen kiss in Casper). More work followed, with Sawa starring in such straight-to-video releases as The Boys Club (1996) and Wild America (1997).
Sawa got his first real chance to carry a mainstream movie with the 1999 Idle Hands. A teen horror-comedy that took advantage of the genre craze originally inspired by the Scream series, it starred Sawa as a young man whose right hand gets possessed by a homicidal demon. Unfortunately, the film was released shortly before the Columbine High School tragedy; surprisingly enough, audiences, sickened by the recent spate of real-life teen violence, stayed away in droves. The following year, Sawa was given another crack at film stardom with Final Destination, a psychological thriller that featured the young actor as a high school student who discovers that cheating death is a very tricky matter indeed. ~ Rebecca Flint Marx, Rovi