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Captive star David Oyelowo had to do a lot of preparation to take on the role of real life Atlanta courthouse shooter Brain Nichols, and a lot of it took place in the gym. The Selma actor told us he not only sat down with the families of the four victims  Nichols killed back in 2005, but also lifted a ton of weights to get a chiseled physique.

“Brain Nichols was an ex-footballer player and a big guy,” explained Oyelowo. “Look when you have a big guy who kills four people in a day that is inherently scary. I wanted that. I don’t look like that normally so it took a lot of gym time.”

And his wife loved the results. “I think she loved it a little too much,” laughed Oyelowo.

Oyelowo like the rest of the world was familiar with the story that made headlines 10 years ago, but was intrigued to play the role and produce the film to show the story the world didn’t see. Kate Mara plays Ashley Smith, the single mother and recovering meth addict, who Nichols held hostage for 7 hours after escaping the courthouse.

“The thing that the cameras couldn’t see were those 7 hours, what happened in that apartment that ended in a result that no one could have called. Why was Ashley Smith not his 5th victim,” said Oyelowo. “That’s the story the public doesn’t know that’s the story I wanted to tell, and makes this film so powerful.”

Captive is in theaters September 18th.

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