What David Oyelowo Learned From A Hostage's Incredible Story

"There can be a second chance."

On March 11, 2005, an accused rapist named Brian Nichols fled from an Atlanta courthouse, killing four people during his escape and taking officers on a dangerous manhunt through the city. That's when his path crossed with an unsuspecting stranger named Ashley Smith.

Armed with a gun, Nichols forced his way into Smith's apartment as she was arriving home and ended up holding her hostage for seven hours. During that time, Smith, a widowed mother struggling with addiction, made a deliberate effort to connect with her kidnapper. She spoke about her own life, asked about Nichols', read aloud from The Purpose Driven Life and even made Nichols pancakes. Eventually, Nichols surrendered himself to police, and the nightmare was finally over. Smith is now a sober mother of three, and Nichols is behind bars, serving multiple life sentences without parole.

If it sounds like it could be the plot to an intense thriller, it is now. "Captive," which opened everywhere Friday, stars Kate Mara and David Oyelowo as Smith and Nichols. Oyelowo recently spoke with Oprah about his experience portraying a real-life killer and what he hopes others will take away from Smith's harrowing -- and eventually triumphant -- story.

"In my life, there are mistakes I've made. There are second chances I've hoped for. There are choices made that are questionable, that have gone on to have an effect," he says. "I really hope that people are able to watch the film and come away knowing that there can be a second chance for them."

But there's also another important takeaway from Smith and Nichols' interaction, he continues.

"One of the things I truly believe is the reason why Brian didn't kill Ashley and [why] she managed to thaw him... was looking at him as a human being," Oyelowo says. "Allowing him to feel seen."

On Saturday's "Oprah: Where Are They Now?", Oyelowo is joined by both Smith and by her kidnapper's mother, Claritha, who speaks publicly about her son for the first time. The episode airs at 10 p.m. ET on OWN.

For more from "Oprah: Where Are They Now?", visit wherearetheynow.buzz.

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The Story Behind "Captive"
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