Devotion, the latest tear-jerker to hit theaters this Thanksgiving, tells the story of two elite fighter pilots, Jesse Brown (Jonathan Majors) and Tom Hudner (Glen Powell) before they become the United States Navy’s most celebrated wingmen during the Korean War.
The film, directed by J.D. Dillard, stars Hollywood’s latest breakout star, Jonathan Majors, as Jesse Brown, a Black family man that enlists in the Navy to support the country’s war efforts. The film is based on a true story and also stars Christina Jackson and pop star sensation Joe Jonas.
At the November 5th screening in Atlanta hosted by AAFCA, Dillard expressed why making this film was so different from past films.
Dillard says, “This is the first film I felt called to do. It’s such an enormous stranger-than-fiction heroine story of one of our [Black] people doing something so extraordinary at a time when it seemed so impossible. As I cried reading page to page in the script for the first time, I realized I had heard of these stories before. I found myself with this really awesome and almost cosmic opportunity to not just bring Jesse’s story out into public conversation but also get to honor my dad’s story.” Dillard’s father was a pilot who introduced him to a love of flying.
Christina Jackson plays Daisy Brown, Major’s wife onscreen. Devotion is a film that highlights and celebrates Black love. When asked who she modeled Daisy after, her answer was simple. “I think about Merle Evers, I think about Coretta, and I think about Betty. These were women who were with men who had visions far beyond themselves. It was playing the love between those two people [Daisy and Jesse] and what that love looks like on this woman.”
And for Majors, it is no surprise that he is a standout in this film, and he can be seen in 3-4 trailers for the upcoming films that will be released within the next few years. His attention to detail and dedication to the craft of acting is next level. When he first met Jackson, he called to ask her to have dinner and arrived in full Naval uniform. He deliberately picked the ice cream shop and the place where they would have dinner in Savannah before they began shooting because he chose to be intentional, like his character Jesse is in the film.
No two characters Majors has played in his career thus far are the same. He creates mannerisms, movements, and choices for them all. His acting secret?
Major states, “The honest answer is that it comes from the Lord. This whole acting thing is kind of my ministry…as an actor, I feel I am the vessel. I try to put myself in the position for that inspiration to come through. The accessories to that are that I am curious about the human experience, and I am curious about us as people.”
Devotion is in theaters on November 23rd.