In March of 2005, alleged rapist Brian Nichols escaped from an Atlanta courthouse, murdering the presiding judge, a court reporter and a sheriff’s deputy. Nichols fled to the nearby suburb of Duluth, where he forced resident Ashley Smith into her apartment at gunpoint and held her hostage through the night.
Things took an unexpected turn when Smith and Nichols began discussing their families and God. Smith began to win her captor over and eventually made him a pancake breakfast. He soon let her leave the apartment and she immediately called the authorities. These events were detailed in her memoir Unlikely Angel: The Untold Story of the Atlanta Hostage Hero, and that text is being adapted in the upcoming film Captive. You can check out the first official trailer above.
The fact-based thriller stars Kate Mara and David Oyelowo as Smith and Nichols and is directed by Jerry Jameson. Michael K. Williams rounds out the cast as Detective John Chestnut, the man leading the manhunt for Nichols. The film places a heavy emphasis on the self-help book The Purpose Driven Life, written by evangelical Christian pastor Rick Warren.
Captive is setting itself apart from other films based on true events by pushing the underlying themes of faith inherent in the story. Brian Bird, who wrote the screenplay, will capitalize on his years of experience writing faith-affirming material to introduce powerful religious themes and imagery to the film. It’s a smart move as faith-based films, such as Heaven is for Real, have enjoyed great box office success in recent years.
While filmgoers will instantly recognize stars Kate Mara (House of Cards), David Oyelowo (Selma), and Michael K. Williams (The Wire), they may not be familiar with Jerry Jameson’s previous directorial work. To date, Jameson doesn’t have many film credits to his name, though he has directed several episodes of Walker, Texas Ranger. He’s not a director that general audiences will recognize and it’s likely the film will have to rely on its star power to draw in crowds outside of the target audience.
What do you think, Screen Rant readers? Will you see Captive when it comes out?
Captive opens in U.S. theaters on September 18th.