Jonathan Majors and Glen Powell star in J.D. Dillard’s war film.
War films based on real historical events have been a gripping part of cinema that dramatizes the harrowing reality of war for its soldiers. From gunfights on the battlefields and in the trenches, to sky-high aerial combat or oceanic warship clashes to international espionage, war films have multiple aspects to base their life-threatening action on. Stories of heroic figures emerge from these life-or-death situations throughout war history. These same stories are also limitless, especially regarding some individuals who may have gone under the radar of being acknowledged or well-known to the public.
Thankfully, many filmmakers have taken on the responsibility to bring lesser-known historical events or war heroes to the cinema audiences. Whether it be Christopher Nolan's Dunkirk or Dominic Cooke's The Courier, it's a great opportunity for moviegoers to learn about these events or individuals that may not have been included in the regular school curriculums. Joining this collection of movies is the upcoming historical war film, Devotion, which will be released by Sony Pictures Entertainment and Black Label Media this year.
Before we take to the skies for this aviation war film, here is everything we know so far about Devotion.
Editor's Note: This article was last updated on November 20 to include the final trailer.
The first teaser trailer was released by Sony Pictures Entertainment on May 26, 2022. Set during the Korean War, it depicts the tension and high stakes that are involved for U.S. Navy pilot, Jesse Brown (Jonathan Majors). Amid all the soaring action and gunfire, Brown is shown to develop a camaraderie with another pilot, Tom Hudner (Glen Powell) as they work together with the rest of the aviation team to defend their countrymen. This was followed by a full-length trailer released in August 2022, which you can see above. The final trailer for the movie was released on November 8. Check it out below:
The war film was originally set for an exclusive theatrical release starting in a limited capacity on October 14, 2022, before expanding on October 28, 2022. However, plans have since changed and Devotion will now be arriving in theaters on November 23, just in time for the Thanksgiving holiday weekend.
Based on the book, Devotion: An Epic Story of Heroism, Friendship and Sacrifice written by Adam Makos, the film will follow Ensign Jesse Brown, the Navy's first African-American carrier pilot, and his wingman, Lieutenant Thomas "Tom" Hudner. The two were famous war pilots for the US Navy during the Korean War. Coming from different racial and economic backgrounds, the pilots first meet when joining the Strike Fighter Squadron 32 and commit to their service and deployment leading up to the Korean War. In a time of segregation and conflict, the friendship between Brown and Hudner rises above everything especially during a key incident when one of their planes got shot down over enemy lines. Here is the official synopsis from the film's website.
"Devotion, an aerial war epic based on the bestselling book of the same name, tells the harrowing true story of two elite US Navy fighter pilots during the Korean War. Their heroic sacrifices would ultimately make them the Navy's most celebrated wingmen."
Ultimately, it's up to the audience to read the book before or after the film depending on their preference should they even want to read it. It isn't necessary since it is after all a film adaptation that will cover the same content but in a different medium. The book is always available though for curious audience members who wish to go further in-depth with the history of Brown and Hudner. In the case that the audience wishes to read ahead to compare the film's adaption, the book is available in hardcopy or as an e-book for Kindle from Amazon.
Principal photography for the movie began in February 2021 and filming took place until April 2021. The cast and crew primarily shot in Savannah, Georgia but also took place in Charleston, South Carolina, and Wenatchee, Washington.
As mentioned, the main leads for the film are Jonathan Majors (Lovecraft Country) who will portray Ensign Jesse Brown, and Glen Powell (Top Gun: Maverick) who will portray Lieutenant Tom Hudner. Majors has a steady momentum of projects that's been building since his major role in the TV series Lovecraft Country and a surprise appearance in Loki. His repertoire in the film is already impressive having starred in Spike Lee's war drama Da 5 Bloods and leading Jeymes Samuel's Western The Harder They Fall. His next major projects coming up include Creed III alongside Michael B. Jordan and the 2023 MCU movie Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania.
Powell has a wide range of supporting and minor roles on television such as Ryan Murphy's horror-comedy Scream Queens. He's also been in several films such as Hidden Figures and Everybody Wants Some!!. He even was the lead in the 2018 Netflix rom-com Set It Up opposite Zoey Deutch. Coincidentally, his last major role was in another aviation-related movie: Top Gun: Maverick. Powell is also credited as an executive producer for Devotion following his own personal interest in the book after reading it in 2016 and wanting to develop it into a film since 2018.
The other notable members of the cast include Christina Jackson (The Night House) who will play Daisy Brown, Jesse's wife. Thomas Sadoski (The Newsroom) is set to play Richard "Dick" Cevoli who is the squadron division leader while singer Joe Jonas will be another pilot from the team named Marty Goode. Other fellow pilots such as Bill Koenig, Bo Lavery, and Carol Mohring will be portrayed by Daren Kagasoff (The Secret Life of the American Teenager), Spencer Neville (The Obituary of Tunde Johnson), and Nick Hargrove (Charmed) respectively. Serinda Swan (Coroner) is also involved to portray actress Elizabeth Taylor who crosses paths with these pilots.
The crew for the movie will be spearheaded by relatively new up-and-coming talent in Hollywood which includes director J.D. Dillard whose feature films so far include Sleight and Sweetheart. The screenplay is written by Jake Crane and Jonathan A. Stewart. The cinematography for the film was done by Academy Award winner Erik Messerschmidt (Mank).
Katrina is a Resource Writer for Collider. She’s also a freelance screenwriter/graphic designer and aspiring novelist.