Every so often, I like to change things up a little, and bring some content from outside the MMA sphere. Fortunately, throughout the almost seven years I've been conducting interviews, I've managed to foster some good relationships with some television and movie personalities. One of those people is Devon Sawa. You might remember him from films like Final Destination, Idle Hands, Casper, SLC Punk, or from Eminem's video, Stan. Of late, he's got a regular gig on the CW show, Nikita, and has an MMA themed independent film out called The Philly Kid. I recently secured another interview with him for our readers.
Stephie Daniels: Talk about your love for martial arts for our readers.
Devon Sawa: I'm a huge martial arts fan and a huge MMA fan, and boxing fan, but mostly MMA. I'm definitely a diehard.
Stephie Daniels: Do you train any of the martial arts?
Devon Sawa: I train jiu jitsu, but more so muay thai. I love jiu jitsu, but I also love to kick the bags and hit the bags, and that kind of thing. I love it all. I really have a lot of respect for those guys. It's a lot of work. The thing with muay thai, is that it translates to film so well, and I use it a lot on NIkita, so that's very helpful.
We've used a little bit of jiu jitsu, too. It's hard to excite TV show audiences with two guys on the ground when you can't really see what they're doing because the action sequences are so fast paced. Muay thai translates really well, though, and I think it looks better than the old kung fu or karate or tae kwon do. It looks more realistic, more brutal, so we use more of it than anything else. The action/stunt coordinator is a big muay thai guy, so he kind of throws in combos every once in a while.
Stephie Daniels: When you guys do incorporate some BJJ, what's the most common move you use?
Devon Sawa: We've used a lot of rear naked chokes, a lot of guillotines. I threw a triangle on Ray Park, who played Darth Maul in one of the Star Wars films. I snapped his neck using the triangle, which was kind of weird, but it worked. There's at least one or two martial arts moves per episode. A lot of action. It's really a different kind of show for the CW. I'm definitely enjoying it all. It's great.
Stephie Daniels: Describe your character on Nikita.
Devon Sawa: From the original show, La Femme Nikita, Owen, my character, he's a lot like Nikita. He was dragged into the underworld division, and trained to be an assassin. The only thing is, he's got a heart, he's got a conscience, so he kind of goes rogue and goes against Division. He's off doing all sorts of crazy things and generally being a good guy.
Stephie Daniels: Do you like being in a good guy role?
Devon Sawa: I do. I like being the good guy, but one day, I'd like to play a bad guy. I'm pretty sure this character is going to stay good, though. But yeah, I've got a little bit of villain in me.
Stephie Daniels: Tell me a little about The Philly Kid.
Devon Sawa: It's an independent MMA movie, and it's done pretty well. It's gotten a lot of good reviews. It's kind of like your basic Rocky story translated into MMA. It wasn't trying to be anything it wasn't. It's an hour and 30 minutes of MMA. It's got the "save the friend" thing, the girl, the love story. It's got it all. Jean-Claude Van Damme's son is in the first five minutes of the movie. He's the dude that dies. He's the token dude that dies in the beginning that creates the conflict.
The guys that made the movie, did a series of these films that were supposed to be like the 80's action movies. There was no CGI in them. It was just really gritty filmmaking, and nothing too big. It's a basic kind of late night "guy" movie. It is what it is and nobody is winning any awards from it. It's just entertainment.
Stephie Daniels: Do you watch TUF?
Devon Sawa: Yes. I thought this season's opener was pretty good. I can't wait to see them back in the house. I know that's not what a real training camp looks like, but it's always fun to watch those guys hitting each other after dark.
Stephie Daniels: Were you disappointed when 151 got cancelled?
Devon Sawa: You asked the wrong guy that question, because I'm in Toronto, filming, and I have tickets to 152. When it got cancelled, I thought, 'Oh no, this is crazy. What am I gonna watch now?' Then I found out Jones was gonna fight on the 152 card. Now, I'm the happiest guy ever. I'm flying my brother in, and I get to see Loco again (Ryan Loco). I'm sure he'll probably beat Vitor, but still, it's Jon Jones. A lot of people are saying he's the Michael Jordan of MMA.
Stephie Daniels: A lot of people seem to think that it's Anderson Silva that's the Michael Jordan of MMA. Who do you like in a superfight featuring Jones and Silva?
Devon Sawa: Anderson Silva. I would actually like to see Jones vs Silva more than Silva vs St. Pierre. That's the fight I'd most like to see. I'm gonna be the meathead fan and also say I'd love to see Lesnar vs Fedor. I think Fedor would take it. I think he'd find a way.
Stephie Daniels: Which fight are you most looking forward to on the 152 card?
Devon Sawa: Brian Stann and Michael Bisping is going to be a war. I like that fight. I think Bisping is going to take it. As much as he's trying to create this bad guy character, I really like him as a fighter. He's a great fighter.
Stephie Daniels: Are there any other MMA fans from your show, or have you converted any of them?
Devon Sawa: Yeah, for sure. The stunt coordinator get everybody together and we go to this place called Shoeless Joe's to watch the fights. Shane West is becoming more and more an MMA fan, too. It's all I talk about. I'll tell you who was a really big MMA fan that I just worked with, was Michael Clarke Duncan. We did a movie together that will be coming out in January. That dude absolutely loved MMA. We would talk for hours about it. He never called me by my name. He always called me "Final Destination Dude" [laughs]. He was the nicest guy ever. It was a very sad event when he passed. It hit me hard.
Stephie Daniels: Are you the "educator" in the group, bringing the gospel of MMA to the masses?
Devon Sawa: I'm the guy that's calling the bar to make sure that they've got the Fuel TV prelims on. I'm the guy that bring the laptop to the bar to watch the Facebook fights. I've been watching for a very long time. I can remember going to the stroe in the 90's to get the VHS tapes, if that tells you anything. I've kind of followed loosely along the way since then, but about six years ago is when I really started following it closely. I love it. It's great.
You can follow Devon via his Twitter, @DevonESawa