[Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for Season 2, Episodes 1-6 of Hacks.]
While traveling, the comedian and her team — including protege and writer Ava (Hannah Einbinder) — encounter a whole spectrum of unique individuals, each providing a new experience. In the show’s latest episode, “The Click,” Deborah’s struggling with finding her comedic groove, but a kind-eyed stranger at a country dive bar appears to be the key to unlocking her creative block.
The man, named Jason, is played by ’90s heartthrob Devon Sawa who spoke to TV Insider about his guest role, hopes for future appearances, and what it’s really like getting to romance Jean Smart.
How did your guest role on Season 2 come about? Were you a fan of Hacks before signing on?
Devon: I’m very selective with what I watch, not for any other reason than my wife and I, we just don’t have a lot of time. So we pick the ones we hear good things about and that we’re both going to enjoy and Hacks is one of them. So, it was a no-brainer. My agent Jasmine, came along with it and was like, “You want to do Hacks?” [And I said yes]. I’m proud to be on it.
Hacks is definitely one of the best comedies on TV right now.
Yeah, it’s brilliantly done because it’s comedy, but the acting is so grounded. Jean kind of straddles the line of that very perfectly. She’s not goofy, over the top, sitcom-y, or anything like that. She’s very grounded. That’s why she’s winning Emmys and every other award. She’s just brilliant at it. And I think all the cast around her are the same way. Hannah came out of nowhere and just exploded. It’s like, she’s been doing this for 50 years. She’s just so comfortable in the role.
Everyone’s fabulous, which is why it makes sense that your character Jason is drawn to Deborah. What do you think initially attracts him to Deborah? Is it that she’s older or is it something else?
As far as the age thing goes, I didn’t think about it a lot, which I’m starting to think about it more now that it came out. I started to think about the age difference a lot. Obviously, I knew there was an age difference when I was there, but she is a very attractive woman. And it just felt natural for these two characters to be attracted to each other. And I never really thought about the age difference until now. I’m starting to realize how much there really is, almost 30 years. But listen, she’s beautiful and she’s got a presence. And so it’s not a completely strange thing for this guy to be into her.
Yes, it’s easy to see how well they get along. Does that mean that we’ll see Jason again before the season is through?
Not before the season’s through. It was one and done for this particular season. But man, are my fingers crossed for another episode in [a possible third season].
That’s funny because I wasn’t sure if Jason’s roommate noticing who Deborah was, would turn into something more or not.
Do you know how many stories I have created in my own head on how my character could possibly come back? You could hope. It’s definitely not a show that I’m going to forget about. I will be hoping that my guy crosses paths with her again.
Jason’s a cool guy and he seems to sweep Deborah off of her feet. Considering your ’90s heartthrob status, does that help in relating to this suave character?
Oh man, I didn’t even look at him as very suave. Lately, I’ve been playing all these weird characters. I played these twins on Chucky and different characters in different movies. I have this really crazy one in September that’s going to be all prosthetics. And so this character was weirdly enough, the closest I’ve ever played to myself as a grounded person. Yeah. It really wasn’t a hard person to get into.
What was it like collaborating with Jean?
I’ve been doing this for a very long time. And for some reason, there are certain times that I get nervous. I knew I was coming on a show with an Emmy award-winning actor and the whole cast is top-notch. And so there was a lot of nerves when I got to my trailer. I was in wardrobe [for] an hour and, all of a sudden I got a knock on the door. Out of habit, I was like, “Yeah?” And I hear, “It’s Jean.”
The first time I’d ever met her she’d knocked on my door to introduce herself, to break the ice, and to welcome me. I went from feeling nervous to feeling comfortable and welcome. Not a lot of actors would do that. She made me feel like I belonged there and she’s just a pro. It was really easy to do.
Considering Jason’s penchant for older women. Who do you think would have been his heartthrob?
I don’t know. I haven’t even thought of it. [Maybe] Sharon Stone, or something like that? I’ve worked with Sharon Stone and she’s not as old as Jean, but she’s got the same kind of thing. She’s got a presence about her that’s that’s very, very attractive. So maybe someone like that.
The writing on this show is fantastic, but was there any opportunity for improv?
I think they do. First of all, it’s my first episode. I’m not going to walk in there like, “I got some stuff to show you guys. I’m going to just do my own thing here.” Jean went off script in the car sequence. It never ended up on screen, but we tried it a bunch of different ways. She wanted to try it where we were absolutely hammered. We did some takes where we pretended there was an Uber driver and we had conversations with the Uber driver. If I do a second or third episode, maybe I’ll start stuff, but I don’t think I’m there yet.
Jason is partly responsible for helping Jean get her comedic groove back. How do you think he’d feel about that?
I think she should tell him about it on season three [Laughs].
Hacks, Season 2, New Episodes, Thursdays, HBO Max