The new movie “Captive,” which opens this weekend, breaks the typical Hollywood mold.
“Captive” tells the true story of drug addict Ashley Smith, who, while being held captive in her own apartment, reads the book “The Purpose Driven Life” by Pastor Rick Warren to her captor, Brian Nichols. Through this transformative experience, both characters are given a new chance in life.
Producer and writer of the film Brian Bird, like the main characters of “Captive,” is no stranger to second chances.
The opportunity for Bird to work on the film came at one of the lowest points of his life and career, when he was close to leaving the industry.
Executive producer Ken Wales approached Bird about writing the script for the movie, which had been put on hold several times due to Ken’s insistence that the script include Pastor Warren’s “Purpose Driven Life” as the power behind the transformation and redemption of both main characters.
Bird signed on to write and says, “Captive became a second chance for me personally as a writer and producer. I stepped out on faith with the guys who had the rights to the story and through the process, I’ve learned what it’s like to step into a river at flood stage and trust God to part the waters.”
He adds thoughtfully, “You know, we’re supposed to do obedience; God does the amazing.”
Bird says, “It took a killer to save Ashley Smith’s life, and it took a drug addict with no more chances to save Brian Nichols’ life. Ashley simply read from a book about hope, forgiveness, and second chances, and it changed them both.”
As lead writer for the TV series “Touched by an Angel,” Bird has worked on “out-of-the-box” Hollywood projects before. That series allowed him to experience firsthand the affects that authentic, powerful storylines can have in the lives of real people.
Bird notes that “when ‘Touched By An Angel’ aired on Sunday nights and we told stories of redemption and forgiveness, we used to get calls from suicide prevention centers on Monday mornings telling us that their call volume went up after the show. People would call into the prevention hotline and say, I saw this show last night and it made me think, maybe God could still forgive me.”
Bird went on to say that “Captive could do the same thing. All of us need second chances.”
When asked how people can support morally uplifting, spiritually encouraging movies, Bird responds, “If we don’t support the things that are leading to positive change in our culture, we won’t get more of them. There’s a media conversation going on 24/7/365, and if we’re not a competent, articulate part of that discussion, we become irrelevant.”
But how can simple viewers become a “relevant” part of that big, ongoing media conversation? Bird is quick to answer: “When there’s something of value coming out of Hollywood, we should support it in an overwhelming way and be loud about our support.” He mentions movies like “War Room” and “Heaven is for Real” and adds, “The first weekend is huge in the industry process. The studios and producers determine whether or not to promote a movie any further during that very first weekend it is out! So my advice would be to not wait until weekend #4 to see a movie that is positive, uplifting, or based on moral principles. Try to go the first weekend it’s released if you want to send a message to Hollywood that you want more of that kind of movie.”
Instead of opening on a Friday night, the movie “Captive” is offering an exclusive “red carpet” experience to audiences on Thursday night, and they’re calling the pre-view experience “Night of Purpose” screenings.
Audiences are already purchasing tickets to the “Night of Purpose” screenings, to see extra content and exclusive personal messages from the movie’s stars, David Oyelowo and Kate Mara. Twitter has also already been abuzz with the hashtag #FollowYourPurpose, with people posting what it means to them to understand their purpose in life and to follow it.
What better way to start changing your perspective, as well as the Hollywood culture, than by seeing a movie that seeks to do both?
As Pastor Rick Warren said, “God can take our broken pieces and turn them into masterpieces.”
Could encouragement, inspiration, or anything good come out of Hollywood? God works in mysterious ways—see for yourself.