Sweetheart helmer J.D. Dillard is revving up to direct war epic, Devotion, based on Adam Makos’s biographical 2014 novel, beginning in February 2021. STXinternational is handling international sales on the project at this year’s virtual Toronto International Film Festival, as announced by Black Media Label on Friday.
Actors Jonathan Majors (Da 5 Bloods, ‘Lovecraft Country’) and Glen Powell (Top Gun: Maverick, Hidden Figures) will star in the film from a script by Dillard, revised from a previous draft Jake Crane and Jonathan A. Stewart. Black Label, whose Molly Smith, Rachel Smith, Thad Luckinbill and Trent Luckinbill are producing, is fully financing the pic.
Devotion takes place in 1950, as the Cold War threatens international peace and racial inequality creates tension across the US. The film centers on two young pilots from different worlds, who are accepted into an elite squadron for training – one is Tom Hudner (Powell), a clean-cut, all-American soldier who decided to forgo Harvard to join the Navy. The other is Jesse Brown (Majors), a fiercely talented pilot, who would become the first African American to fly in combat for the US Navy.
Initiated together into the VF-32 squadron, Tom and Jesse are pushed to their limits to become the best pilots, testing and flying a new design of fighter jets. Within the tight brotherhood of the squadron, Tom and Jesse form a firm friendship; one that will be tested on the heated battlefield, when one of them is shot down behind enemy lines. A human story of bravery, sacrifice and brotherhood, Devotion is an intense, thrilling, and ultimately moving story about two of the Navy’s most celebrated wingmen.
“We are thrilled to be partnering with both Sony Pictures and STX International to bring this epic story to the big screen. JD Dillard is one of the most exciting filmmakers in the business and brings an extraordinary vision to this film in combination with our talented cast,” said Smith.
Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions acquired the film, with Sony Pictures releasing in North America. STXinternational will distribute directly in the UK and Ireland.
CAA Media Finance brokered the deal with STX.