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'Devotion' Director J.D. Dillard Has a Surprising Connection to His Latest Film

Starring Jonathan Majors and Glen Powell, the aerial war epic Devotion has hit theaters as critics rave about the J.D. Dillard-directed film.

J.D. Dillard

Based on the bestselling book of the same name, Devotion tells the harrowing true story of two elite U.S. Navy fighter pilots during the Korean War. Their heroic sacrifices would ultimately make them the Navy's most celebrated wingmen. Notably, the drama recounts the story of Jesse Brown, the first African American aviator to complete the U.S. Navy's basic flight training program and was a recipient of the Distinguished Flying Cross.

Devotion is sure to be an awards contender with stellar performances from Majors and Powell. For Dillard, the film holds a special place in his heart, and his care for the true story shows just how connected he is to the drama. "Thirty years after Jesse became an aviator, my dad became an aviator," Dillard explains in our interview. "My earliest memories are all around navy bases and navy aviation," he continues.

Dillard says he has always been inspired by his dad's dream of wanting to be in "that cockpit." His father, Bruce Dillard achieved that dream years later and went on to become the second African American to fly for the Blue Angels.

"I felt called to tell this story," Dillard says after crying his way through the script. His craft hit close to home by not only telling the story of Jesse Brown, but Dillard says he also got to tell his dad's story. Viewers will feel that connection through the magic on screen.

Devotion is a masterclass on how to combine a love story and an action story to create a film that serves as historical inspiration. Majors and Powell are explosive in one of the best films of the year.

Watch our interview with Dillard and learn more about how he wanted to approach this film and what he hopes to shine a light on as the audience leaves theaters.

Devotion is now in theaters.

Photo Credit: Sony Pictures


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