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Exclusive! J.D. Dillard: There’s a lot of me, and my father, in Devotion

The Hollywood director, of Sweetheart (2019) and Sleight (2016) fame, spoke exclusively to us about his upcoming war drama Devotion, wherein he discusses the greatest bond of all time that constitutes the very essence of his film: the human connection, among other topics pertaining to it.

Exclusive! J.D. Dillard: There’s a lot of me, and my father, in Devotion
J.D. Dillard
  • Pallabi Dey Purkayastha

Last Updated: 02.02 PM, Nov 18, 2022

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Given, stories derived out of events of global historical importance—like the Korean War, in this case—can be a tricky affair but J.D. Dillard, the director of biographical war drama Devotion, hyper-focusses on human relationships and the greatest metaphor that is life itself.

“There’s a lot of my father, a lot of myself that, and a lot of Jonathan, in the writing of Jesse (played by Jonathan Majors),” he told OTTplay during an interview.

However, in Dillard’s opinion, for the layered role, actor Jonathan Majors brought in a lot of ‘depth’ and captured the various emotions that Jesse experiences at crucial junctures, during the course of his life. “In Jonathan’s portrayal, Jesse is not a longsuffering, stoic character; he brings such a depth and a richness to the role. One thing we always talked about was showing the spectrum of Jesse’s life – Jesse’s joy, Jesse’s excitement, Jesse’s pride, and, at times, Jesse’s aggression, and weave all of that into a nuanced, complicated character. Jonathan was a great partner in that process – there is no Jesse Brown without Jonathan Majors,” added the director.

Devotion, which is a heartwarming tale of love and friendship and devotion between two naval officers during the Korean War—Jesse Brown and Tom Hudner (Glen Powell)—relies heavily on metaphors to put its story across.

Jonathan Majors and Glen Powell in a still from Devotion
Jonathan Majors and Glen Powell in a still from Devotion

On that, Dillard elaborates, “If you are flying second in line to your wingman, you don’t look at the horizon, you don’t look at your instruments, you don’t look at the world – you look at the wing of your wingman. That’s where you get your cues to do anything. That becomes a central metaphor in the movie – to be there for someone, you have to get a sense of where they’re moving, what they’re doing, and that will tell you what they need.”

Devotion, also starring Christina Jackson, Joe Jonas, Thomas Sadoski, Serinda Swan, among others, is releasing in theatres in India on November 25, 2022.

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