Armie Hammer on Hotel Mumbai

Read below for my conversation with actor Armie Hammer about his new film Hotel Mumbai.

Katie Couric: You play an American married to a woman from Iran. I know the director was inspired by a documentary about Mumbai. Is your character based on a real person?
Armie Hammer: I believe my character is a composite of two people who were at the hotel at the time of the attack. That being said, I also think there was some artistic license in terms of specific details.

Do you remember when this attack actually happened? If so what are your memories?
I do remember the attacks happening because they were the first terror event that I remember playing out in real time. Normally, at least to the best of my memory, it’s been a bombing or shooting and then coverage of the aftermath. But this was an event that the world watched play out in real time.

The cast is terrific. Had you ever worked with any of these actors before?
Armie: This was the first time that I worked with anyone from the cast, but Dev Patel and I have worked together since! And I am so happy about that, because not only is he a huge talent but he’s also an amazing person.

This is very different from a “disaster” movie. It’s also about the will to live and the courage of the staff at the Taj isn’t it?
Yes, I totally agree. This film is about the indomitable human spirit. And about the obstacles, people can overcome, and even survive if they put their differences aside and work together. This film is also a tribute to the amazing people of India and the staff at the Taj who were totally selfless throughout the experience.

The general manager of the Taj was at the screening. He lost his entire family that night. What was his reaction to the film?
I was able to meet him, but didn’t ask him about his reaction to the film. He did seem emotionally shaken and for very good reason.

The timing of this is almost eerie, on the heels of the massacre at two mosques in New Zealand. What does it say about where we are in the so called “war on terror?”
I think it says that we still have a long way to go. And that extremism, and extremist ideas, are not specific to any one group of people.

What was the hardest part about making this film?
While the filming experience was obviously intense, we are just actors. We have the ability to call cut if things got too intense for us. That’s a luxury the people in the hotel and in the city of Mumbai didn’t have.