I was once faced with a similar dilemma, on a friend's old Corolla. After trying every angle we finally took a hole saw to the door trim, which gave us access to the latch directly, to push on the lever to release it.
After the repair, we pasted the round patch back into the trim and though it looked scruffy, wasn't as bad as I'd feared.
A good way to prepare for this is to open up the other side door and study how the levers work, so you know where to drill. Doing so you might get an idea how to open it without drilling (maybe).