Jonathan Majors, one of the stars of Devotion, spoke with Solzy at the Movies during the 2022 Chicago International Film Festival. Majors was in town to receive the Artistic Achievement Award as a part of the Black Perspectives Tribute during the festival.
Devotion is an aerial war epic based on Adam Makos’ bestselling book of the same name. The film tells the story of two elite US Navy fighter pilots–Jesse Brown (Jonathan Majors) and Tom Hudner (Glen Powell)–during the Korean War. Their heroic sacrifices would ultimately go onto make them among the Navy’s most celebrated wingmen. In addition to Majors and Powell, the film also stars Christina Jackson, Thomas Sadoski, and Joe Jonas.
Devotion is now playing in theaters.
I was one of the first people to see it on the ground in Toronto in September.
Jonathan Majors: Oh, wow.
I fell in love with the film instantly. What was it about the story that drew you to the role?
Jonathan Majors: It was inspiring. I mean, not to be cliché or cheesy, it was inspiring. When I read it, I thought, here’s this fella who’s coming all the way down the hill and going up into the sky. That arc is something to aspire to, not just as an actor, that’s gonna be fun to play, but also as a human being. I thought to bring that story, to bring that experience to the screen, with Black Label, and then this fella back here, JD Dillard. And now, we’re here. People are seeing the film—like you say, you saw it at TIFF. I’m about that.
What sort of prep did you do for the role?
Jonathan Majors: Oh, wow. Flew planes, flew planes, read the manuals, read the book, of course, but spent a lot of time with the family—as much time as I possibly could with the family just to feel and understand what the impact of Jesse Brown was in their lives and tried to fill in the spaces. That was the prep.
How honored are you to be receiving this award tonight?
Jonathan Majors: Oh, man, it’s heartbreaking, though. It’s just heartbreaking. My heart conversed with just joy and confusion as to why they would—what has been done to deserve this? But I’m very happy to receive it. I take it humbly and I use it as a nitro boost, just kind of keep going forward and keep doing what I’m doing.
Finally, how is acting opposite Glen Powell different from that of Tom Hiddleston or Paul Rudd?
Jonathan Majors: Tom Hiddleston is taller. Paul Rudd is funnier. Glen Powell is—that’s my heart.
Thank you so much.
Jonathan Majors: Thank you.
It was so nice to meet you.
Jonathan Majors: Nice to meet you.
Sony releases Devotion in theaters on November 23, 2022.
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