It’s been a logistical challenge for filmmaker Lliam Worthington but somehow he cracked it, turning the historic Carrington Hotel in Katoomba into the scene of the 2008 terrorist attacks at the Taj Hotel in Mumbai.
The 19th century grand resort features in about 60 per cent of the movie One Less God that gives an insight into the fear of the trapped travellers staying in the hotel, and also the lives of the terrorists who committed the acts.
The low budget psychological thriller covers the “nature of belief”, said writer/director Worthington. He’s been working on the project since the idea first germinated five years ago. Filming started in the Mountains in January — shooting in the heat of “an Indian summer ... a real heatwave, just like Mumbai” and finishing in the chill of winter on Tuesday, he said. But not before dozens of Mountains residents found roles as extras in the film — playing hotel staff and customers in the hotel’s grand dining room — before the terrorist siege scene begins.
“The community really pulled together and they will all have screen time,” Maren Smith, producer of New Realms Films, said.
Worthington, an ex-University of Western Sydney Nepean acting student, said there had been plenty of challenges filming the frenetic and climactic scenes with such a large ensemble of actors and extras.
“Director Stanley Kubrick famously said filmmaking is like trying to write War and Peace in a dodgem car and that was what it was like,” he said laughing.
“At its essence it’s a movie with a message.
“People shooting other people and blowing things up, we see those films all the time, it’s almost murder porn ... I wanted to tell a human story.”
The movie was shot in stairwells and several of the hotel’s rooms with a cast including Joseph Taylor (Mabo) and Nathan Kaye (Muriel’s Wedding) who Worthington met while at UWS. Worthington travelled to Mumbai twice to research the event, which targeted the opulent Taj Mahal and Oberoi Trident hotels and killed 164 people.
He said “film crews have a terrible name and rightly so” but they had received enormous local support. That said, they chose not to film the scarier corridor scenes involving terrorists and weapons, for fear of frightening some unsuspecting hotel guests.
“We would have loved to have used the corridors here [at the Carrington] but two terrorists with AK-47’s?”
Carrington co-owner Michael Brischetto said they were delighted to be involved with the project.
“The creative industries is an important part of the Blue Mountains community and culture,” Mr Brischetto said.
“There’s real momentum building at the moment with several productions happening around the place. There were many locals involved in this film and we are just happy to play our part.”
He said it wasn’t “the first time the hotel has been used as a movie set and we hope it won’t be the last. We wish the producers, cast and crew every success and we can’t wait to see the finished product”.
The film, which is due for release next year, will have a special Mountains preview.