Betty and Barney Hill

Reports of alien abductions are common enough these days that we’re familiar with all the usual tropes. But someone had to be the first to call one in, and in 1961 that was Betty and Barney Hill. The New Hampshire couple claimed to have been captured by a UFO on the night of September 19, and then returned with missing memories.

Now, over half a century later, the Hills’ unusual encounter is finally getting the feature film treatment. Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials producers Gotham/Principal will tell the Hill story in Captured, to be scripted by Dark Skies creator Bryce Zabel. More about the first reported alien abduction movie after the jump.

TheWrap reports Zabel will write Captured based on the 2007 nonfiction tome Captured! The Betty and Barney Hill UFO Experience: The True Story of the World’s First Documented Alien Abduction. Written by professional ufologist Stanton Friedman and Betty Hill’s niece Kathleen Marden, the book contains new information and personal details about the case.

But Captured will go beyond simply chronicling the Hills’ alien encounter, placing their experiences in the context of the era in which they took place. America was at the height of Cold War paranoia, and struggling with the ongoing Civil Rights movement.

“The Hills were very much a part of the times they lived in,” said producer Jackie Zabel. “They were an interracial couple in a country that still had segregation laws, and they lived in a city that was next door to a bomber base bristling with nuclear weapons. What they knew and why they were targeted will make for a phenomenal film.”

“Betty and Barney were two down-to-Earth people who found themselves in a situation that was literally out-of-this-world,” noted Bryce Zabel. “Ironically, at the time of their abduction, while the country was focused on deeply divided racial issues, it seems like only the aliens never reacted to the color of their skin.”

The Hills’ story was previously dramatized a 1975 TV movie called The UFO Incident, starring James Earl Jones and Estelle Parsons. However, the new film marks the first big-screen feature adaptation of the Hill case.

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