Audrey and Harry Lesner, otherwise known as The Budget Savvy Travelers, are full-time travelers and digital nomads. Born and raised in Chicago, their passion to show others how to break free without breaking the budget. They are the proud winners of the 2019 Top Budget Travel Blog.
Located in downtown Kansas City, the Hotel Phillips Kansas City Curio Collection by Hilton was one of the filming locations used in the 2009 adult comedy, Brüno. The film features English comedian and actor Sacha Baron Cohen.
Similar to Borat, the movie was shot in a documentary-style format, now referred to as "mockumentary." Played by Cohen, lead character Brüno Gehard, is a gay fashionista that is constantly putting himself into highly uncomfortable and dangerous situations.
During production, the filmmakers decided to include many innocent bystanders in several scenes. The hope was to capture genuine and humorous reactions to the ridiculous situations that these onlookers “accidentally” found themselves in. Throughout the movie, the bystanders get extremely frustrated and angry with Brüno’s flamboyancy, senseless humor, and provoking antics.
About halfway through the film, one of Hotel Phillips’ maintenance staff is walking down the hallway and hears loud noises coming from a room. The worker proceeds to enter room #2010 only to find Brüno and his lover/assistant handcuffed in a human knot, among other precarious things occurring throughout the room. The maintenance man calls for backup, and before you know it, the entire room is full of employees wondering how this bizarre scene materialized.
In typical Sacha Baron Cohen fashion, none of the employees have any idea that they’re being filmed for the mockumentary. The film crew led them to think they were making a documentary about a European man traveling through the United States.
Many of the hotel employees were understandably frustrated about being included in the film. However, prior to filming, the staff did sign waivers. Therefore, the hotel’s lawyers concluded that the filmmakers had every right to include these scenes filmed in the hotel in their mockumentary.
Following the film's release, Kansas City hotelier Blaine Proctor became a local Kansas City celebrity. He was the director of sales and marketing for the Hotel Phillips at the time of filming.
Cover image by Nightryder84 is licensed under (CC BY-SA 3.0).