Jonathan Majors' Family History Upped The Pressure While Filming Devotion

"Devotion" is the story of Jesse Brown and Tom Hudner Jr., two of the most decorated aviators from the Korean War. Jonathan Majors ("Loki") plays Jesse Brown, the first Black man to complete the U.S. Navy's basic flight training program. Glen Powell ("Top Gun: Maverick") plays Hudner Jr., his wingman who goes to incredible lengths to save his life during the conflict. It's a story of enduring friendship, loyalty, and love. "Devotion" is based on the book "Devotion: An Epic Story of Heroism, Friendship, and Sacrifice" by Adam Makos.

Majors recently stopped by "The Kelly Clarkson Show" to chat about "Devotion," where he revealed that his family history really upped the stakes for him. It wasn't just his own history, though. Many people involved with "Devotion" have family in the military. It was a lot to take on, in addition to flight training for the film's practical work and the emotional nature of the story. 

'Talk about stakes, man'

Majors, who has two grandfathers in the service, says of the family connection:

"My paternal grandfather, the guy who, you know, ran the farm, built the farm, was in Korea. And this story is about the Korean War. About the first black naval aviator. And he fought in the Korean War. His name was Ensign Jesse Leroy Brown ... unfortunately, that war is labeled 'the forgotten war.' And this is only the second major motion picture made that captures that story. And for me, talking about pressure and stakes to bring that story and to tell a small glimpse of that war and those soldiers. And to honor them on such a grand stage was extremely high pressure and a huge honor. And we did the best we could. And I think it's pretty great."

Clarkson asked Majors if he'd been trained to fly, and in the process revealed that she once flew with the Blue Angels, the flight demonstration squad of the United States Navy, which brought up another military connection for the film. Majors explains: 

"Our director, J.D. Dillard, his father was the second Black Blue Angel in the history of the Blue Angels. Talk about stakes, man. We were making this movie with, like, so much pressure and so much support. You know, we had guys we could talk to and say, 'Hey, what was this like?' And they'd say, 'It's like this.' You know what I mean? And I learned in that plane what it was like. To a minimal degree, but it was pretty intense."

Not only that, but Dillard's father was a consultant on the film, and Dillard has spoken about the fact that Majors' portrayal of Jesse Brown reminded him of his father. 

"Devotion" opens in theaters on November 23, 2022.