Imagine that one night as you are readying yourself for bed and an unstable person who is a known rapist and murderer breaks into your house and holds you hostage. Now imagine that that same individual keeps you in your house for seven hours, then miraculously, by the grace of God, lets you go. That is the premise of Captive; out in theaters on Sept. 18.
“It’s a story that I was very inspired by when I heard about it,” said busy actor and Emmy nominee David Oyelowo, who co-produced the film under his Yoruba Saxon Productions company. “I was less drawn to playing Brian than I was to the story, because you know there’s going to be a price to pay and that price is literally having to inhabit the thoughts of someone who could do this.”
Captive is based on a March 11, 2005, incident in which Ashley (played by Kate Mara) is taken hostage by Brian Nichols (David Oyelowo). Brian has been convicted of raping his ex-girlfriend and various other crimes when he kills the judge, court reporter, bailiff and severely injures a corrections officer tied to his case. With murder added to his list of crimes, Brian goes on a run from the law; during which he holds Ashley captive in her condominium. Captive is written by Brian Bird and Reinhard Denke (based on the novel Unlikely Angel by Ashley Smith with Stacy Mattingly) and directed by Jerry Jameson.
During the course of the night, Ashley and Brian find that they have more in common than they originally thought. Ashley is a widowed meth addict who is fighting to get herself on the right path so that she can get her daughter back. Brian, a killer and a rapist, suffers from paranoid schizophrenia and does not plan on ever going back to jail despite his crimes of the day. In order to survive the night, Ashley’s only defense is a book that she received from someone in her Narcotics Anonymous Group: The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren. Reading the book aloud on that fateful evening, Ashley and Brian find hope in their desperate situations.
“I just felt that when you look at what happened on that day with Brian having murdered those four people and Ashley living a very broken life; no good should be coming out of that situation at all. But, it was the point beyond which Ashley found life,” Oyelowo, a devout Christian, said about the characters and how they both decided to renew their purpose in life to be better people. “Considering the life (Ashley) has gone on to lead since these events – a life filled with purpose, filled with hope – she’s really grasped the redemption she gained that day.”
According to Oyelowo (prounouced “O-yellow-o”), on that night, when Brian forced his way into her condo, Ashley felt that the situation was God’s way of saying: “You deserve death,” because of the bad choices she had made in her life. However, it was the opposite. It was as if Ashley’s life was given back to her. On the other hand, many would say that Brian does not deserve redemption or a second chance because of what he’s done. And, Brian felt the same way. However, as Oyelowo succinctly put it: “On this particular day a corner was turned because (Ashley and Brian’s) humanity was warmed back up by this very intense situation.”
Truly, Captive is the kind of dramatic film that speaks to those with a foundation of faith. If you’re not a firm believer in God, then you may not get the film. Not every work speaks to everyone. However, Captive shows how God is pretty good at taking an adverse situation that seems to be hopeless and uses it for the benefit of his people.
“The film for me is about the miracle of the second chance and the fact that no one is beyond redemption,” said Oyelowo, whose next projects include voicing the latest James Bond audio book and another passion project of his own called United Kingdom. “I think that is a universal truth and something I hope anyone and everyone can take from the film.”