February 22, 2022
Podcasts are becoming more than platforms for on-demand talking heads.
Amazon Feb. 22 announced that original podcast “American Hostage,” a true-crime series starring Emmy-winning actor Jon Hamm, launches today and is available to binge on Amazon Music and Wondery+, followed by weekly episodic releases on all podcast services starting March 8.
Series cast members include Carla Gugino (Watchmen, The Haunting of Bly Manor), Dylan Baker (Hunters) and Joe Perrino (Power), who join Hamm in the scripted podcast based on a true event. The eight-episode series is directed by Academy Award-winning filmmaker Shawn Christensen (Curfew, Blackout), written by C.D. Carpenter, and executive produced by Gabriel Mason, Hamm, and Christensen.
Set in Indianapolis in 1977, “American Hostage” is based on a true story and stars Hamm as Fred Heckman, a local radio reporter who is thrust into the middle of a life-or-death crisis when hostage-taker demands to be interviewed on news program.
Through Heckman’s radio show, the hostage taker gradually becomes a media sensation and unexpected anti-hero during a 63-hour standoff. With striking similarities to some of today’s national headlines, “American Hostage” puts its listeners in the middle of the action and asks the questions “Who is the real victim?” and “Is the media helping or hurting the problem?”
“Part of what attracted me to this story was the absolute brazenness of the crime itself compounded by the slow burn realization that something was terribly wrong,” Hamm said in a statement. “The parallels to today’s dissatisfaction on all sides with not being heard, not being understood and somehow being taken advantage of by something bigger than us are glaring. We apparently still haven’t learned our lessons about the consequences of dismissing people’s outrage.”