Korean War Drama 'Devotion' Used Real Vintage Aircraft to Tell a True Story

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Jesse Brown (Jonathan Majors) and Tom Hudner (Glen Powell) in "Devotion." (Columbia Pictures)

Glen Powell, who made a huge impression as Hangman in "Top Gun: Maverick," returns to the skies this November with the release of "Devotion," a Korean War drama about the real-life friendship between naval aviators Tom Hudner and Jesse Brown.

Powell plays Hudner, and Brown is portrayed by Jonathan Majors, best known for Spike Lee's Vietnam War movie "Da 5 Bloods," the HBO series "Lovecraft Country" and his role as intergalactic villain Kang in an upcoming series of Marvel movies.

Brown was the first Black aviator in the Navy and faced all the challenges you'd expect to go along with breaking that barrier. Hudner was the fellow aviator who befriended and supported Brown through his challenges. Hudner was also awarded a Medal of Honor after he crashed his plane in an attempt to rescue Brown after his plane was shot down in North Korea.

"Devotion" will be released in theaters on Nov. 23, 2022. Columbia Pictures has just released the official trailer, and you can watch it below.

While the team behind "Devotion" didn't have the nearly unlimited budget enjoyed by the "Top Gun: Maverick" crew, it made a special effort to convey the experience of flying during the Korean War and talked to "Entertainment Weekly" about the making of the movie.

Director JD Dillard is the son of a Navy aviator, and he was determined to film real planes in flight for his movie. "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?" he told "Entertainment Weekly" with a laugh.

"Finding 80-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 10 feet away from these flying museums and lens them up for real with the beautiful backdrop of clouds at 10,000 feet."

Majors was attracted to playing a Navy officer. "All the men in my family have served in the U.S. armed forces. Navy. Army. Air Force," the actor told EW. "I myself haven't. But there's something about the soldier archetype that's always kind of been with me."

The actor was determined to experience flying in a realistic way. "I call it the dog s--t reality," said Majors in the same interview. "You know, getting in the plane, trying to hold your lunch down, your breakfast down, sweating bullets, blacking out in the flight. I refused to take Dramamine because they didn't have it [during the Korean War]. I refused to come down. They were like, 'Are you sick?' 'Yeah, I'm sick as a dog.' 'Do you want to come down?' 'No, I don't want to go down. Keep going!' Because you want to experience it."

Powell is also an executive producer on the movie. He's been developing the film for half a decade, taking on the project after reading Adam Makos' 2014 book, "Devotion: An Epic Story of Heroism, Friendship, and Sacrifice."

"A couple of different people had mentioned the book," Powell said to EW. "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."

Back when he auditioned for "Top Gun: Maverick," Powell thought he'd have to choose between the two projects, but he somehow got to be in both and now is facing an incredibly fortunate situation where he's the star of two high-profile Navy movies released just six months apart.

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