Yes, it’s pretty bloody weird that scene still gets talked about so much given Sawa was only 15 when he filmed it. But to many teenagers around the world at the time, the skinny-dipping scene was the first time they’d been exposed to nudity on screen.
To prove our point, earlier this year Mel Magazine published an article called “Millennial women on the importance of the peen scene in Now and Then”.
“For teenage girls in the ’90s, trying to sneak a peek at heartthrob Devon Sawa’s d**k wasn’t just a dream come true – it was a coming-of-age moment,” the article said.
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One of the women interviewed told Mel Magazine about the scene: “We might’ve been too young for it to be a sexual awakening. For us, it was more about pointing and laughing. And the scene itself is so innocent – a bunch of boys just swimming in a lake … there was nothing sexual about it. It was just funny. We thought penises were funny.”
Another woman added: “We watched. We rewound. We paused. Everyone was giggling and shrieking. I didn’t really know what I was looking for, or at, for that matter. But I didn’t want to be left out so I giggled and shrieked too. It was wild.”
Devon Sawa is in #Winnipeg – Women of my generation will know him from trying to pause the “Now and Then” VHS during the skinny dipping scene, trying to catch a glimpse under his towel.
That’s how we came of age before the internet, kids.
— Vicki Shae (@Vicki_Shae) October 1, 2019
If you’re a girl who grew up watching Now and Then and didn’t pause and rewind 50 times with your friends to see if you can spot Devon Sawa’s weenie when his clothes are stolen, you didn’t really live your childhood.
— Melissa (@melbasroast) September 14, 2019
Pretty much knew I was gay when I was watching Now And Then in 1995 and got insanely excited when the girls took the boys clothes and the boys gave chase – naked. Ohhh the days of Devin Sawa. 🚨
— Danny 🦄 (@notyourdan) March 10, 2019
Devon Sawa was the reason many girls in the 90’s experienced their sexual awakening.
— Merlin Munrow (@tikiamarie) July 27, 2017
Now, more than 20 years later, Sawa has opened up about his memories from the film and clarified once and for all that his junk does not feature on camera.
Speaking to Vulture, Sawa, 41, said the skinny-dipping scene was “uncomfortable” to shoot.
“The nude scene was – it was so important that it was very safe and locked off, and nobody could be there: ‘Are the socks on? Is everything fine?’ It was so overly protective that that’s what made it kind of weird,” he told Vulture. “If we’d just done it, it wouldn’t have been so weird. It was because they were being so overly protective, it felt very awkward.
“But really, for years, people have been like, ‘I paused the scene and …’ Listen, there’s no way New Line Cinema is letting four young boys run around a set naked. I hate to break everybody’s heart, but there’s no way to pause anything because we had full-frontal socks.”
Sawa told Vulture that shooting the movie alongside fellow teenage stars Gaby Hoffman, Thora Birch and Christina Ricci felt like being at summer camp.
“Everything you can imagine in a childhood camp went on,” he said. “Bickering between the girls, bickering between us. Then the next day everyone’s friends again, then somebody’s not talking to somebody. It was so childish and so innocent. I don’t think anybody would recall what it was all about.
“Thora wasn’t smoking, but the rest of us were. We were doing things we shouldn’t have been doing when parents weren’t looking.”
Sawa has had a long and successful acting career since Now and Then and most recently was seen on the big screen alongside John Travolta in The Fanatic.
But for many of us, he’ll always be known as either Casper or the kid who flashed his bum in Now and Then.