Devotion: Plot, Cast, Release Date, and Everything Else We Know – MovieWeb

Glen Powell and Jonathan Majors star in Devotion, an upcoming Korean War epic. Here’s what to know!
Glen Powell, a breakout star from 2022's Top Gun: Maverick, is returning to the skies in the upcoming biographical war drama Devotion. After reading Devotion: An Epic Story of Heroism, Friendship, and Sacrifice by Adam Makos, the inspiration behind the film, Powell set his sights on bringing this epic war story to the big screen.
In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Powell explained why Adam Makos's novelization inspired him.
"A couple of different people had mentioned the book. I ended up going on a fishing trip with my family and everybody was reading Devotion. My uncle had read it, my cousins were reading it, my dad was about to read it, and I picked it up. We got to talk about this story, and what it meant, and the fact that this was a war that no one knew about, a relationship that no one knew about."
The last decade has seen many "untold stories" presented on a major platform, including Hidden Figures, The Imitation Game, Just Mercy, and more. There is a definite effort to bring the untold story of Devotion forward, but it's important to recognize that this story was "untold" for more than one reason. The real story behind Devotion took place in the Korean War. Moreover, the story's real-life subjects, Thomas Hudner and Jesse Brown, share a list of historic "firsts" in military history, specifically within the context of American Civil Rights. This era, these themes, and these servicemen are neglected in historical accounts.
For many reasons, the story of Hudner and Brown would have flown under the public radar had it not been for Adam Makos's novelization, Glen Powell's determination, and J.D. Dillard's directing. Here's what to know about the upcoming film.
The official synopsis is as follows:
"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."
Jesse Brown (Jonathan Majors) and Tom Hudner (Glen Powell) are the two servicemen at the heart of the film. Jesse Brown was the first African-American aviator to graduate from the Navy's basic flight training program. Adam Makos's book detailed how Brown faced racism, bigotry, and significant personal hardship in his attempts to serve the United States of America in the Korean War. Tom Hudner became Jesse Brown's ally, friend, and pseudo-brother during their joint enlistment.
Related: All Quiet on the Western Front Adapts the Iconic World War I Novel on Netflix
Between the two, the naval officers garnered a Distinguished Flying Cross, a Purple Heart, National Defense Service Medal, a Combat Action Ribbon, an Air Medal, and many, many additional awards and decorations. Notably, Hudner was the only naval aviator to be awarded a Medal of Honor during the Korean War.
Their awards and the many chronicles of their service speak to the magnitude of their actions in battle. Devotion is slated to tell a story not yet seen in cinema, and it shows bravery, sacrifice, activism, and above all else, brotherhood.
The film stars Jonathan Majors (Loki, Lovecraft Country, When We Rise), Glen Powell (Top Gun: Maverick, Hidden Figures), Joe Jonas (Camp Rock, Grease Live!), Christina Jackson (The Night House, Outsiders, Deception), Nick Hargrove (Counterpart, Charmed), Spencer Neville (Ozark, Tunde), and Thomas Sadoski (Newsroom, John Wick, Life in Pieces).
The film is written by Jake Crane (Under) and Jonathan A. H. Stewart (The Axmann Conspiracy, Clean). It is directed by J.D. Dillard (Sleight, Sweetheart). Glen Powell joined as an executive producer alongside J.D. Dillard, Molly Smith, Rachel Smith, Thad Luckinbill, and Trent Luckinbill.
The film premieres on September 12th, 2022, at the 2022 Toronto Film Festival before its full release on November 23rd, 2022.
Related: Why Top Gun: Maverick is Great for the U.S. Military
Production for the film had a significant emphasis on both prop realism and period accuracy. J. D. Dillard spoke to Entertainment Weekly about his intention to shoot as much footage aerially as possible while still maintaining a high level of historical truth.
"When I first met the producers and told them that we had to [shoot] in-camera the first problem is, well, where are the planes coming from? Finding eighty-year old-planes that are still in working order, that can withstand the sort of stress that we're going to put them through was certainly a task, but at the end of the day we had a hangar full of them. It adds a level of realism to put our camera jet ten feet away from these flying museums and lens them up for real with the beautiful backdrop of clouds at 10,000 feet."
In addition to the struggle to find working era-specific planes, filming on location proved to be a challenge. The movie is set in during Korean War and in the Pacific War Theater, but much of the filming took place in Georgia. With some creative filmmaking, the southern landscape doubled as Korea, Rhode Island, China, and more. Even when Devotion was filmed "on location," those locations were often creative doubles of a fictional setting. For instance, mountains in Washington State doubled as the China-Korea border for the film's setting.
Despite the obstacles, J.D. Dillard has demonstrated an effort to remain as historically accurate as possible. For him, this effort is not just because of his penchant as a director and producer. Dillard's father, like the film's lead Jesse Brown, was also an African-American naval pilot. In an interview with Deadline, Dillard explained how his father continued the filmmaker's fascination with wartime stories:
"On top of that, as I'm reading through the script, on a personal level, I saw an opportunity to also kind of tell my dad's story: even though he and Jesse were separated by 40 years, the parallels were uncanny. I have a lifetime of my dad elbowing me in the ribs while we're watching aviation movies and telling me, 'that's not what it looks like, that's not what they say, that's not what they do.' I've never had a consultant I could so easily call in the middle of reading the script and ask, 'by the way, can you give me more background on this detail or that.'"


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