News Blast - Interview With JD Dillard
A Conversation With The Director of 'Devotion'
Years ago, at my first Sundance, and toward the end of the festival, I stumbled into a midnight screening of Sweetheart, a smart genre creature feature directed by JD Dillard. It was his second feature, and it enraptured me. But what I noticed most was Dillard remaining there to do a late-night, post-screening Q&A at the Library Theater. I was impressed by his film, and even more impressed how giving he was with his time.
When he announced his next film would be Devotion, a story starring Jonathan Majors and Glen Powell as Naval aviators at the turn of the Korean War, I immediately circled the film on my calendar. The date would move several times due to the post-production delays stemming from the pandemic. But the wait was worth it.
I saw Devotion at Toronto International Film Festival and its heart, muscle and complexities enthralled me, as did the central story centered around allyship, which subverted expectations for a conclusion that didn’t cater solely to white folks. While at Virginia Film Festival, I managed to interview Majors for IndieWire. But I knew I needed to talk to JD Dillard. And I did so for the LA Times (and with Majors and Powell) as part of my first print interview.
Here is an excerpt from the interview:
“JD Dillard doesn’t run on adrenaline; he runs on jet fuel. For the director of “Sleight” and “Sweetheart,” the new film “Devotion” — the thrilling, urgent story of Black Korean War aviator Jesse Brown — is the culmination of a lifelong obsession he shares with his father.
“All of my earliest memories are tied to aviation. The most literal one is burning my hand on the nose of a F-18 in my dad’s arms,” Dillard told The Times. “My dad would be part of the air show, and my mom and I would watch him, and I’d have little earplugs in because those shows are ungodly loud.”
His father, Bruce Dillard, not only served as a naval aviator. He also toured with the Blue Angels, becoming only the second African American to join the ranks of the famed Navy aerobatics team. The younger Dillard would spend hours at their Pensacola, Fla., home watching VHS tapes of his dad’s rear-facing cockpit camera. “Ever since that age, I’ve been obsessed with masked characters,” the director said.”
You can read the full interview, HERE.