On September 19, 1961, Betty and Barney Hill claimed to have been taken aboard a UFO, experimented on, and returned with missing memories. It was the first time an abduction like that had ever been reported, and now the story is becoming a feature film.
Gotham/Principal, one of the companies that produces The Maze Runnerfilms, has just partnered with writers Bryce Zabel and Jackie Zabel to adapt the Hills’ story. It’ll be called Captured, based on a 2007 tell-all of the same name by Stanton Friedman and Kathleen Marden. Because Betty and Barney Hill were an interracial couple, the film will reportedly “place the events in a context of both Cold War paranoia and the country’s struggle over race relations.”
“Captured is a true story that explores the birth of modern UFO lore through the eyes of the first Americans to report that they were kidnapped by aliens,” said Gotham/Principal producer Eric Robinson in a press release. “This is an exciting story that is as intriguing, timely and ripe for adaptation today as it was 54 years ago when this incident occurred. We look forward to sharing Betty and Barney Hill’s incredible encounter with audiences all around the world.”
As someone who doesn’t really follow “UFO lore,” as Robinson calls it, I think this is the aspect that most interests me. Beyond the mystery of whether or not the Hills were actually abducted, and the story’s social and political context, the angle that hooks me is the framing of this event as the birth of a UFO-obsessed subculture so many of us are familiar with today.
That’s fascinating stuff, on top of all the other interesting angles. If anything, you just wonder how it took half a century for this story to finally make it to the big screen in this manner. (The story was previous turned into a 1975 TV movie called The UFO Incident starring James Earl Jones and Estelle Parsons.)