The X-Files

Deadline reports that Gotham/Principal, the production team behind the Maze Runner films, is developing a feature film about the first reported alien abduction. The movie will be based on the 2007 book, Captured! The Betty And Barney Hill UFO Experience: The True Story Of The World’s First Documented Alien Abduction. For brevity’s (and the marketing department’s) sake, the movie will just be called Captured.

The book, co-authored by ufologists Stanton Friedman and Kathleen Marden, chronicled the story of Barney and Betty Hill, an interracial couple who claimed they were abducted by aliens in 1961. The Hills said they were driving along a New Hampshire road when they saw something in the sky; they tried to investigate, but just ended up abducted by aliens for their troubles. They contacted the Air Force and a “civilian UFO research group,” but the incident was written off by both organizations.

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Alien abductions are by now a common trope in film and television, but there was a time when telling people—including members of the Armed Forces—that you’d been examined by strange humanoids on a flying ship would have raised some eyebrows. Even so, the Hills’ story had been mostly forgotten before the Boston Traveler picked it up four years later. The incident ultimately set off countless theories and newspaper articles, and inspired the 1971 movie The UFO Incident starring James Earl Jones. Details of the Hills’ story have reportedly been incorporated into episodes of television shows like The X-Files, Carl Sagan’s Cosmos, and American Horror Story: Asylum.

The Hills’ tale, according to Gotham/Principal, was the birth of modern UFO lore, but the upcoming movie will also set the story within the context of “Cold War paranoia and the country’s struggle with race relations.” Captured is being written by Stellar Productions’ Bryce Zabel, a TV/film writer (L.A. Law, Mortal Kombat: Annihilation) and former CNN correspondent.