You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

David Oyelowo, Kate Mara and Ashley Smith Talk ‘Captive’ and Seeing Others ‘Through the Eyes of Christ’

The Sheen Center for Thought and Culture in New York celebrated its grand opening Monday night with a screening of Paramount’s “Captive,” based on the book “Unlikely Angel.” Named after the late Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen, the center is a project of the Archdiocese of New York. Slated to welcome the crowd was Archbishop of New York, Cardinal Timothy Dolan, however, with special guest Pope Francis en route to America in 10 days, he was a bit tied up in preparations.

“As you watch it, think about reaching out to people on the periphery,” the center’s Executive Director Bill Spencer Reilly told the aud ahead of the screening, referring to a sentiment uttered by Pope Francis himself.

Following the film, “CBS This Morning” co-host Gayle King moderated a Q&A panel with the stars of the film, David Oyelowo and Kate Mara; Ashley Smith, who was taken hostage by Brian Nichols in March 2005; Claritha Nichols, mother of the now-imprisoned Brian Nichols; and the film’s producer Terry Botwick.

In preparation for the film, Mara spent time with Smith and her family. After taking Smith hostage, Nichols was convicted for the murder of four people during that manhunt and according to his mother, has been in solitary confinement for 10 years after letting Smith go and turning himself in.

“There’s no way I could get to him. So what you see is very much from talking to Ashley about that night and the trial that took place afterwards and the book. So I was nervous about meeting you, Mrs. Nichols,” Oyelowo said. “That’s your baby there that I’m playing and I didn’t get to meet him.”

Nichols said she felt grateful to Smith for talking her son into surrendering. “Ashley showed him human kindness. I thank her for talking to him, for helping him… and letting him know he needed to do the right thing and turn himself in.”

“I really was just being myself and taking the next step that I thought was right,” Smith said. “I really believe that God gave me his eyes to see Brian. And instead of seeing Brian through the eyes of a human being, I saw him through the eyes of Christ.”

“It was very emotional watching it,” Nichols said. Smith said she watched it for the first time with her now 16-year-old daughter and was quite pleased with Mara’s portrayal of her.

“She did really good, but she really has too much of a Southern twang,” she said to laughter from the audience. “And then I saw myself on television and thought, ‘Oh, no she didn’t.’”

“My biggest concern was telling her story truthfully,” said Mara. “I wasn’t interested in impersonating her in any way. The accent thing always helps though as David knows — as an actor it’s part of your costume. So I was kind of studying her voice when we spent that day together.”

Gayle noticed that Oyelowo’s character doesn’t speak for the first 25 minutes of the film, which he confirmed was a conscious choice.

“We wanted to do that to play on the audience’s prejudices. Because when you see a news story unfolding, you see a mugshot. You see freeze frames, and to be perfectly frank, you see a black man who is on the run, and it does all kinds of things in your mind especially in the world we live in today. And we wanted to show that without giving him personality or humanity in a sense. So that by the time you see him interact with Ashley, you see his humanity reemerge,” explained Oyelowo.

King told Botwick that she liked that the film also turned attention to the four victims. “I thought that was very important. You showed us their pictures. You showed their names. Because I think quite often in so many of these movies the victims are sometimes forgotten. I was very touched that you did that.”

Captive” opens Sept. 18.

More Scene

  • Atmosphere91st Annual Academy Awards, Governors Ball

    Inside the 2019 Oscar Parties

    Stars party all around Hollywood before, during, and after the Oscars. Here, Variety hits the town to give you the inside scoop on all the star-studded soirées. Keep checking back throughout the weekend for the latest updates… Icon Mann Power 150 Dinner Waldorf Astoria, Beverly Hills, Feb. 21 The Icon Mann Power 150 Dinner and [...]

  • Speaker of the United States House

    Nancy Pelosi, Ava DuVernay Honored at VH1 Trailblazers Event

    Cher is feeling a little better about what’s happening in Washington, D.C. “When I see Trump spew his hate and tell his gazillion lies, I get pissed off and feel uneasy at the same time,” the Oscar winner and frequent Trump critic said Wednesday while introducing Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi at VH1 Trailblazers [...]

  • Karl Lagerfeld'Lagerfeld Confidential' Photocall at the

    Karl Lagerfeld Remembered at Costume Designers Guild Awards

    The death of fashion and costume designer Karl Lagerfeld cast somewhat of a shadow over the usually jubilant Costume Designers Guild Awards — the only award show where clothes literally steal the spotlight away from actors — which was held at the Beverly Hilton on Tuesday night. Here it was obvious that Lagerfeld’s impact on [...]

  • Kate Bosworth'Nona' film premiere, New York,

    Kate Bosworth Helps Launch Campaign for Female Filmmakers

    In her 20-year career in Hollywood, Kate Bosworth has starred in blockbusters like “Superman Returns” as well as indie darlings like 2014’s “Still Alice.” But the actress has always had a desire to get more involved from the ground up. Now, she is partnering with Women In Film and Chloe Wine Collection to launch the [...]

  • Amandla Stenberg and Sofia CarsonVanity Fair

    Oscar Week Kicks Off With Vanity Fair's New Hollywood Party

    The night was definitely still young Tuesday at Vanity Fair’s New Hollywood party in Los Angeles. The magazine kicked off Oscar week with a party — the first of its three-event Campaign Hollywood series — at Ysabel in West Hollywood to celebrate new and emerging talent. Co-hosted by Yalitza Aparicio, Henry Golding and Amandla Stenberg [...]

  • Oscars Ultimate Party Guide

    Oscars Ultimate Party Guide 2019

    Welcome to Oscar week. It’s the time of year when Hollywood’s film industry celebrates all things movies. But it’s certainly not just the big show everyone is looking forward to. With voting closed, it’s all about the parties now. Who’s doing what and where and when are they doing it are the questions everyone is [...]

  • Yalitza AparicioTeen Vogue Young Hollywood Party,

    'Roma' Star Yalitza Aparicio, 'Central Park Five's' Jharrel Jerome Sound Off on Trump

    Yalitza Aparicio recently reunited with Alfonso Cuarón, who directed her in “Roma,” for a W magazine photo project that featured her standing at various barriers built at the border between Mexico and the United States. The message? “You can make a name for yourself despite the differences,” Aparicio told Variety on Friday at Teen Vogue’s Young [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content