Like millions of other Americans, actress Hope Davis watched in horror as terrorists brought down the World Trade Center's Twin Towers on Sept. 11. But as a native New Yorker — and someone who saw the catastrophe unfold in-person from outside her lower Manhattan apartment — the nightmare literally hit home.

"You can't walk down the street to get the milk or walk the dog and not [think about] it," the 37-year-old Hearts in Atlantis star tells TV Guide Online. "They put up a huge wall of remembrance, like a shrine, and there are hundreds and hundreds of pictures [of those presumed dead]. It's like 100 feet long. You can't forget for a minute what's happened. I still feel kind of numb; it's hard to accept."

The experience had such a profound impact on Davis that she briefly considered switching careers. "Right after things happened, there was this, 'I have to do something else with my life,'" recalls the thesp, who appeared in NBC's short-lived newspaper drama, Deadline, but probably is best known for 1998's Next Stop Wonderland. "My little sister is a nurse and it's what interested me in college, and I thought, 'I have to go and do this.' And then I thought, 'We can't all be nurses and doctors and rescue workers. There are other things that need to be done and other jobs that need to be filled.'"

Davis predicts that the attacks will curtail Hollywood's desire to produce "dumb action movies and really violent stuff." In particular, terrorist-themed pics — like her 1999 thriller Arlington Road — will prove especially unpopular.

Speaking of which, Davis is grateful that she's out promoting a "beautiful, really heartwarming" film like Hearts in Atlantis as opposed to Arlington Road. "Even at the time [of its release] it made me nervous, because I had this fear that somebody would do a copycat thing and say, 'Oh, I got it from Arlington Road,'" she sighs. "How would we ever forgive ourselves for putting that out there. I'm glad that movie's in the past."