By Todd Spangler
February 22, 2022
Jon Hamm finds himself at the center of a hostage crisis in Amazon original podcast drama series “American Hostage,” based on real-life events.
All eight episodes of the podcast are available starting Feb. 22 on Amazon Music (at this link) and the Wondery Plus subscription service. Episodes will be released weekly on other major podcast platforms starting March 8.
Starring alongside Hamm are Carla Gugino (“Watchmen,” “The Haunting of Bly Manor”), Dylan Baker (“Hunters”) and Joe Perrino (“Power”). The series is directed by Oscar-winning filmmaker Shawn Christensen (“Curfew,” “Blackout”), written by C.D. Carpenter, and executive produced by Gabriel Mason, Hamm and Christensen. Executive producers for Amazon Music and Wondery are Dave Easton, Morgan Jones and Marshall Lewy.
“American Hostage” is set in Indianapolis in 1977. Hamm stars as Fred Heckman, a beloved local radio reporter who is thrust into the middle of a life-or-death crisis when hostage-taker Tony Kiritsis demands to be interviewed on his popular radio news program. Through Heckman’s radio show, Kiritsis becomes a media sensation and unexpected antihero during a nail-biting 63-hour standoff. “American Hostage” ultimately 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.
Hamm continued: “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.”
“American Hostage” is an Amazon Music and Criminal Content co-production. Criminal Content, which aims to produce podcasts, film and TV, was founded in 2020 by Shawn Christensen and Gabriel Mason. “American Hostage” is the first release under their new banner.
“We feel incredibly fortunate and grateful that our first project is with the exceptional and talented Jon Hamm, who stars in a story that is not only powerful, but also asks thought-provoking and timely questions about America, the media and the world today,” Mason and Christensen said in a joint statement.