×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

10 Directors to Watch: Anthony Maras Recreates Tense Terrorist Attack in ‘Hotel Mumbai’

Australian Academy Award winner follows up celebrated short 'The Palace' with gritty Paul Greengrass-style thriller based on true events.

Ten days out from shooting the final few scenes of “Hotel Mumbai,” a dramatic thriller based on the 2008 terrorist attacks on the Taj Mahal Palace hotel in Mumbai, Australian-born writer-director Anthony Maras cut off the tip of his thumb on the blade of a whirling fan at a local bar.

“Dev Patel, who stars in the film, found it on the ground of the bar while I was in the car with a cocktail napkin wrapped around my thumb going to a hospital 45 minutes away in the middle of the night in Mumbai,” says Maras, who shot his debut feature, which also stars Armie Hammer, Nazanin Boniadi and Jason Isaacs, in India and Adelaide, Australia, where he lives. “Dev wound up getting one of the top plastic surgeons in Mumbai to fix it as best he could.”

The time he spent recuperating from the accident ultimately helped the production, says Maras, whose short films have garnered multiple Australian Academy Awards.
“During the time away, I was able to go through the rushes and see what we missed,” he says. “We came back in January and got to do more shooting. It was all for the better.”

The cinematic result is a film that is as visually breathtaking as it is emotionally electrifying, an edge-of-your-seat study on the effects of tragedy and violence on a group of strangers banding together in a fight to survive the unthinkable.

“The starting point was trying to honor the people who lived through this experience, and also the people who didn’t,” says Maras, who logged countless hours researching the attacks and interviewing survivors. “Really, it came down to spending a lot of time listening, because it is a film based on a true story, and it is something you want to get right. That was kind of our guiding light.”

Influences: Paul Thomas Anderson, Michael Mann, Akira Kurosawa
Agents: Verve
Manager: Kaplan/Perrone Entertainment

More Film

  • Lisa Borders Time's Up

    Time's Up President Lisa Borders Resigns

    Lisa Borders has resigned as president of Time’s Up, she and the organization announced on Monday. Borders is resigning due to family issues, she said in a statement. Time’s Up COO Rebecca Goldman will now serve as interim CEO. “As Time’s Up continues to grow, I am proud of the work I have done to [...]

  • Keira Knightly as "Rachael Morgan" in

    Film Review: Keira Knightley in 'The Aftermath'

    Less widely seen (and acclaimed) than it deserved to be, James Kent’s debut feature “Testament of Youth” was one of the great recent love-in-wartime dramas, translating the intimate romance and sprawling human tragedy of Vera Brittain’s WWI memoir with a grace and heft worthy of its David Lean allusions. Four years on, it’s not hard [...]

  • Inside Amazon's New Feature Film Strategy

    Amazon's New Film Strategy: Straight-to-Service Titles and Starry Sundance Buys

    It was close to midnight when Amazon Studios chief Jennifer Salke got the text. The company had failed in its quest to acquire “Brittany Runs a Marathon,” a body image dramedy that captivated Salke when she saw it at Sundance. A sales agent on the project messaged her to say that a competitor offered a [...]

  • Alfonso Cuaron71st Annual Writers Guild Awards,

    Alfonso Cuarón on Academy's 'Inevitable' Reversal on Televised Oscar Categories

    Alfonso Cuarón isn’t exactly surprised that the Academy reversed its decision and will now air all the Oscar categories during the live show on Sunday. Feb. 24. Calling the decision “inevitable,”Cuarón tells Variety that he thinks the Academy should take things even further. “Let’s stop calling them technical categories!” he told Variety on Sunday night [...]

  • TorinoFilmLab Announces Selections for 2019 ScriptLab

    TorinoFilmLab Announces Selections for 2019 ScriptLab (EXCLUSIVE)

    The TorinoFilmLab has announced the 20 feature projects and five story editor trainees who have been selected to take part in the 2019 edition of ScriptLab, an initiative focused on the development of fiction feature film scripts in early development stage. Beginning in March, this year’s participants will team up with filmmakers from around the [...]

  • Alita Battle Angel

    North American Box Office Declines From Last Year With Weak Presidents Day Weekend

    “Alita: Battle Angel” easily won a tepid Presidents Day weekend with a $34.2 million at 3,790 North American locations, estimates showed Monday. Overall domestic moviegoing for 2019 has plunged 22.1% to $1.24 billion as of Monday, according to Comscore. That’s $350 million below the same date a year ago and the lowest figure at this [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content