Paul Zimmerman/WireImage(NEW YORK) — For Ashley Smith, March 11, 2005, was just like any other day in Georgia.
But early the next day, Smith became the captive of escaped convict Brian Nichols for seven of the 26 hours he was on the run.
More than 10 years later, Smith, then 26, is reliving the seven-hour ordeal that changed her life in the new movie, “Captive.”
“Honestly, the first time I saw it, I didn’t think much because I lived it and thought you can’t get much more emotional than that. But when I saw it with my daughter — the first scene — next to me, I asked for a box of tissues,” Smith, now 37, told ABC News’ “Nightline.” “Each time I watch it, I cry, or grip the edge of my seat with suspense, and I already know what happens.”
In March 2005, Smith, who is portrayed by actress Kate Mara, was a recovering meth addict, who lived alone and worked as a waitress. She lost custody of her 5-year-old daughter Paige after the murder of her husband years earlier.
“I thought what I did was so bad God wouldn’t love me. But I really believe that’s why I stayed addicted. [It] was because I thought I was too bad,” Smith said.
For 26 hours, the city of Atlanta was on lockdown after defendant Brian Nichols, who was standing trial at Fulton County Courthouse for rape, overpowered a courthouse deputy, beat her unconscious and took her gun on March 11, 2005. The beating was so severe that the deputy was left with permanent brain damage.
Nichols, who is portrayed by actor David Oyelowo, then went on a rampage, shooting and killing the judge and a court stenographer. During his getaway, Nichols gunned down another law enforcement officer and seemed to have vanished. While on the run, he shot and killed a plain clothes ICE agent.
Meanwhile, Smith, oblivious to the manhunt, was unpacking at her new apartment at a complex in Duluth, Georgia. Around 2 a.m. on March 12, 2005, she went out for cigarettes and noticed a man parked in a pickup truck, who was still there minutes later when she returned.
The man, Nichols, put a gun to her back and pushed his way into her apartment, Smith told ABC News in an interview.
The seven hours Smith and Nichols spent together is brought to life in the film “Captive,” which is based largely on Ashley’s recollection from her book, “Unlikely Angel.”
“She’s always been very, very open about talking about that point in her life and very, very unashamed,” Kate Mara told “Nightline.” “I was attracted to playing this person. I’ve never played any character like it before.”
“The thing I really walked away with having played Brian is a great deal of thankfulness,” David Oyelowo told “Nightline.” “For me personally, standing in his shoes momentarily, I guess in a different world, under different circumstances, I could be him.”