When Paramount’s new film Captive hits theaters Sept. 18, viewers can expect to see a thrilling drama about the power of God. But for Ashley Smith, the movie is simply a dramatization of her real life story.
In 2005, Smith was held captive in her home for seven hours by Brian Nichols, a murderer who escaped from the Atlanta courthouse. She spoke with Nichols, reading portions of Saddleback Church Pastor Rick Warren’s book The Purpose Driven Life to him, and eventually convinced him to let her go, which ultimately led to his surrender.
The experience changed Smith’s life. “As we began to talk, I began to realize that God had kind of orchestrated this night for me to either change my life for the better or for my life to end if I didn’t make specific decisions that night,” she told Charisma. “As I look back on that night, it’s pretty clear that God was trying to get a hold of me.”
Smith believes that the experience gave her several opportunities to share her faith, including her 2005 book, Unlikely Angel. She has traveled across the country, sharing her incredible story with others, and now Captive brings her story to the widest audience yet.
“I talked with the producers and the director several different times. They were really wanting to make sure that I was happy and that the story really told my true life story,” Smith said. “I don’t think they could have done a better job doing that than what they’ve done already.”
She pointed out that if viewers watch the film carefully, they can catch a brief cameo of Smith and her children. Captive stars Kate Mara and David Oyelowo and premiers in theaters Sept. 18. —Taylor Berglund