EXCLUSIVE– Academy Award-winning producer Simon Chinn and Emmy Award-winning cousin Jonathan Chinn’s multi-media banner Lightbox has been commissioned by Netflix to produce Captive, an eight episode series exploring hostage situations and negotiations around the world. Lightbox, which conceived the series, is teaming up with Doug Liman’s Hypnotic to produce. The deal has been in the works for some months now but was being kept a closely guarded secret to protect the sensitive nature of the filming that has been taking place.
From the highest profile cases to those kept hidden from the public, the producers have gained privileged access to some of the most challenging negotiations of recent times. The episodes look at a wide range of situations from the viewpoint of everyone involved: the victims and their families back home, the experienced negotiators, business leaders, government officials and the kidnappers themselves.
“Hostage taking is an issue that people are familiar with, but apart from those directly involved, nobody really knows much about,” said Simon Chinn and Jonathan Chinn. “Each episode of Captive will reflect the tension that arises from the life and death stakes involved but also truly reveal the complexity inherent in every hostage crisis.”
Alex Marengo, one of the producers on the History Channel’s The Bible, is showrunning with Kathryn Taylor (America: The Story of Us) series producing. Exec producing will be Simon and Jonathan Chinn for Lightbox and Doug Liman, Dave Bartis and Gene Klein for Hypnotic. Lisa Nishimura, Adam Del Deo and Jason Spingam-Koff will exec producer for Netflix.
Simon Chinn is one of the world’s most successful feature documentary producers with two Academy Award-winning documentaries, James Marsh’s Man on Wire and Malik Bendjelloul’s Searching for Sugar Man. Jonathan won an Emmy for Fox/PBS’ American High.
The duo launched Lightbox to create high quality content for the small screen. In 2014, Channel 4 took a minority stake in the ambitious company. Lightbox currently has an extensive slate including 2 films for Xbox Entertainment Studios: Atari: Game Over and The Thread. It also has political docu-series following American Idol alum Clay Aiken’s Congressional bid for NBC Universal’s Esquire Network; a digitally based format for VH1; a film for ESPN’s 30 for 30 strand; and a factually based drama mini-series for the BBC.
Netflix has enjoyed much success with its documentary programming and commissioning. Making a Murderer, which followed the extraordinary story of DNA exonoree and convicted murderer Steven Avery, became a viewing phenomenon when it debuted just before Christmas last year, becoming must-see festive viewing. Other hits have included the Academy Award-nominated likes of Virunga, directed by Orlando von Einsiedel and exec produced by Leonardo Di Caprio, and What Happened, Miss Simone? about legendary singer and activist Nina Simone.