In fact, during a particular moment filming Hotel Mumbai -- and minor spoilers -- Hammer's character finds himself tied up as a hostage to the gunmen who overran the Taj Hotel on November 26, 2008. Bound with several other captives, including his onscreen wife played by Nazanin Boniadi, the scene comes at a crucial point during the film's standoff between the terrorists and the various law enforcement agents surrounding the building. With the pressure on to claim any one who's rich and American as collateral, Armie Hammer's character is undoubtedly a high priority target, and his safety from that point becomes one of the burning questions the audience is left to ponder until the end.
It's a powerful scene, but one that left him in a predicament for some time. He told CinemaBlend:
I spent about five days tied up, on the floor, for about 12 hours a day. Which was no fun. Everything just hurt, my hips hurt, my shoulders hurt. That was probably the hardest thing for me.
So naturally, having your arms and legs tied in such a fashion that you look believably captured on camera is going to do a number on you. On the other end of the camera, there was an equally exhausting task being undertaken: filming between two different locations that had to create a seamless whole.
Hotel Mumbai did use the actual exterior and lobby of the Taj Hotel in Mumbai for the film's titular setting. However, for the various interiors and other locations shown in the film, co-writer/director Anthony Maras used studios in Australia to complete the film's shooting locations. During that same press day, Maras detailed to us how using these two locations presented some interesting working scenarios:
In terms of sort of filming this film, every day was a challenge. We had huge logistical efforts of trying to recreate one of the grandest hotels in the world; and we had to do it between Australia and India. You know, you had Armie Hammer running out of a restaurant in Australia and into a lobby in India, and somehow we had to make that work. It’s a testament to our team on a logistical level, but far more difficult than that or far more poignant than that shall I say, is the challenge of having to do justice to the stories of the survivors and those who didn’t make it. And that was really at the forefront our entire time. The film is a plea for peace, and it’s an honest attempt to try and portray both the horror and the humanity of what went on inside the walls of the Taj Hotel.
You can see both Anthony Maras and Armie Hammer discussing their parts of the Hotel Mumbai process, in the below video, taken from that same press day:
Overall, the greatest obstacle for Hotel Mumbai was, as Anthony Maras said, the one that challenges many films based on a true story: honoring the tragedy and its victims, while also making it a seamless, entertaining, and informative experience. The dedication on both fronts shows strong in the film itself, making for a movie experience that should leave the audience thinking when they're walking out of the theater. Let's just hope all involved are nice and rested after capturing these harrowing events on film.
Hotel Mumbai opens in limited release this weekend, with a wide release taking place on March 29th.