J.J. Abrams

Why 'Sleight's' J.D. Dillard could become the next indie filmmaker to vault to Hollywood's big leagues

Why 'Sleight's' J.D. Dillard could become the next indie filmmaker to vault to Hollywood's big leagues

For years, as he was banging it out as an aspiring writer-director, J.D. Dillard would fantasize about someday watching his first feature film with an audience at the same theater outside of Philadelphia that he’d gone to as a kid.

Now that long-dreamed-of day has finally come as Dillard’s directorial debut, the sci-fi-superhero-family-drama genre mash-up “Sleight,” hits theaters on Friday. But he won’t be in Philadelphia to see the movie — or even in this country. He’ll be thousands of miles away across the Pacific Ocean, shooting his next film in Fiji.

“It’s weird to not be able to see my first movie play theatrically and just hear about it,” Dillard, 29, said earlier this...

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