ATLANTA, Ga. - A single mother struggling with drug addiction is taken hostage in her own apartment by a man on the run after breaking out of jail and murdering the judge assigned to his case.
It sounds like a made up, Hollywood storyline, too embellished to believe, but it's not. It happened, and it happened right here in Atlanta in March of 2005. In fact according to the star of Captive, the movie, David Oyelowo who plays murderer on the run Brian Nichols, there is nothing that Hollywood could add to this story that would make it any more dramatic. It is truly art imitating life.
For Oyelowo, portraying a character such as Nichols was not easy. It was tough to try to put himself in the mindset of a man that was capable of murdering four people in the morning. His goal of humanizing a man that many consider a monster was further complicated by the fact that he was not able to meet and talk to Nichols, because he is currently serving multiple life sentences.
For that, he leaned on Ashley Smith, the woman who was taken hostage by Nichols that day served in a consulting role for this film. Smith is played by actress Kate Mara, who was not familiar with the story, but was attracted to the role by her desire to work with her friend Oyelowo. Both Mara and Oyelowo agree that Smith was very involved in the process of making this film, which put pressure on them to "get it right". And in the end, Smith herself was very happy with the final result, according to Oyelowo.
Rick Warren's book, "The Purpose Driven Life" also plays a key role in this story. On that fateful day, Smith, while being held hostage and scared for her life, looked to that book for guidance, reading excerpts aloud to Nichols. In the end, this potentially horrific event for Smith, helped facilitate her turning her life around. She was able to beat her addiction to meth and regain custody of her daughter.
Prior to this role, Oyelowo, who is a Christian was already familiar with Warrens' book. He loves the, no one is beyond redemption message that the movie sends, and the fact that it is done in a way that is "not preachy".
While the film was not shot in Atlanta, the city certainly serves as a backdrop. Captive will be in theaters on Friday, September 18.