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5 massive roadblocks Dev Patel faced while making Monkey Man: ‘I begged my financier not to shut us down’ | Hollywood


Dev Patel is all set to make his directorial debut with the action flick Monkey Man. While the film is set in Mumbai, it wasn’t filmed on location. In a recent Ask Me Anything session on Reddit, the actor-turned-filmmaker revealed that it was only one of the massive roadblocks he encountered while making the movie during the pandemic. (Also Read: Dev Patel says Shah Rukh Khan films are his favourite, shares why he cast Sobhita Dhulipala in Monkey Man)

Dev Patel says making his directorial debut Monkey Man was full of challenges

Financial crunch

Dev Patel revealed that thanks to the Covid-19 pandemic, his crew faced financial challenges weeks before they went on floors. “I begged our financier not to shut us down a few weeks before principal photography. We were meant to shoot in India then COVID hit. I lost my initial production designer and cinematographer, and the film was basically dead,” wrote Dev.

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He added that one of the producers had to use his personal credit card to buy glass to cover table tops. While acclaimed Hollywood filmmaker Jordan Peele is an executive producer on the film now, he came onboard much after the wrap of the production.

Change in location

“We were meant to shoot in India then COVID hit. All of the locations we prepped for months at — we lost day of — so we had to adapt last minute,” wrote Dev, adding, “We pivoted and went to a tiny island in Indonesia where we could create a bubble in an empty hotel for the whole crew of nearly 500 people. It was a gruelling nine months of absolute joy and utter chaos.

New supporting cast

Since the borders closed in India, Dev couldn’t recruit many of the supporting cast from his native country. “I ended up having to put every tailor, lighting guy, accountant etc. in front of the camera,” he added.

Damaged equipment

Dev also encountered broken cameras and cranes, and he couldn’t bring in new equipment owing to the pandemic. “We literally shot stuff on my mobile phone, go pros — when a crane broke, we ended (up) creating this camera rig from rope, which I termed the ‘pendulum cam,’ which swings over a large crowd of people then detaches and the operators run through the crowd whilst it was rolling.”

Shortage of stunt props

Dev and his team troubleshot this issue in a rather curious way. “We only had three or four break-away tables, so once I would perform a huge bulk of stunts, I would scream CUT and then immediately, all of us would get on our hands and knees looking for all of the broken pieces of wood to glue the tables back together for the next shot,” he wrote. Dev said that every obstacle, however, provided them a new opportunity to innovate.

About Monkey Man

Inspired by the legend of Lord Hanuman, Monkey Man is set in Mumbai and features Dev as Kid, a man on a quest for vengeance against the corrupt leaders who murdered his mother and continue to systemically victimise the poor and powerless. Dev developed the movie from a story idea he had and wrote the screenplay along with Paul Angunawela and John Collee.

Sobhita Dhulipala features in the movie, alongside a host of Indian actors, including Sikander Kher, Makarand Deshpande, Pitobash and Vipin Sharma.

The movie has received glowing reviews from critics at the SXSW with many hailing the actor’s performance and the action sequences. It is slated to release in cinemas on April 5.

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