The Film That Lit My Fuse is a Deadline video series that aims to provide an antidote to headlines about industry uncertainty by swinging the conversation back to the creative ambitions, formative influences and inspirations of some of today’s great screen artists.
Today’s subject is J.D. Dillard. It would seem inevitable that he was the director of Devotion, the fact-based drama about the relationship forged between two elite Navy fighter pilots in the Korean war. After all, Dillard grew up a Navy brat, his father the second African-American selected to fly for the Blue Angels., The film stars Jonathan Majors as Jesse Brown, the first Black aviator in Navy history. Glen Powell plays Tom Hudner. Despite rampant racism in the service at the time, Hudner quickly recognized a pilot with skills as good as his, and their brotherhood bond brought them to heroic acts. The film is playing in theaters right now.
Dillard first directed bye sci-fi crime drama Sleight for Blumhouse Tilt, and followed with the horror film Sweetheart which starred Kiersey Clemons. He has been in the mix on a number of event films and has directed TV eps that include the CW series Two Sentence Horror Stories, and the HBO miniseries The Outsider. Here, Dillard explains the formative influences that helped him find his mojo as a filmmaker.