Dev Patel’s Directorial Debut ‘Monkey Man’ Secures Netflix Deal

Photo: Wiktor Szymanowicz / Barcroft Im / Barcroft Media

The revenge thriller is set to premiere on the streaming site in 2022.

Slumdog Millionaire star Dev Patel’s directorial career looks on track to be as impressive as his acting journey after the news that Netflix has bought his debut film Monkey Man.

An exclusive by Deadline revealed that the streaming giant obtained the majority of worldwide rights for Monkey Man for about $30 million at the virtual EFM (European Film Market).

Patel told the entertainment news site that he is “so thrilled to be partnering with Netflix” on the project, which just wrapped filming. Fans of the Oscar-nominated actor can rest assured that he will still appear on the big screen, however, as he also takes on the film’s lead role. 

The story, set in modern-day India, follows a recently freed ex-convict (played by Patel) who wants to exact revenge on enemies from his past while confronting a world of flourishing corporate greed and declining morality. 

In a blend of past and present, the film takes some inspiration from the ancient Hindu myth of Hanuman, the half-man, half-monkey god, whose story is recounted in the Ramayana, an epic Sanskrit poem. The actor–turned–director told Deadline that “the opportunity to reimagine stories from my childhood and infuse them with my love of action cinema has been an absolute joy.”

Speaking about creating the film during the pandemic, he admitted that it has been “quite challenging to say the least.” Local outlets reported that filming was relocated to Indonesia because of coronavirus restrictions in India.

Read more: Dev Patel Cast In Craig Gillespie’s Chippendales Biopic

This may be his first time directing, but a rich acting history precedes Patel. After the British teen drama series Skins kick-started his career, his breakthrough role in Slumdog Millionaire landed him a BAFTA nomination. Lion earned him Oscar and Golden Globe nominations, and he also received a Golden Globe nomination for his most recent eponymous role in The Personal History of David Copperfield. He will next be seen in The Green Knight, which will be released in July this year. 

Quadruple-threat Patel is also one of the producers of Monkey Man and co-wrote the script alongside Paul Angunawela (co-writer and director of Keith Lemon: The Film) and John Collee (co-writer of Hotel Mumbai, starring Patel). Deadline also revealed the film’s accomplished cast, including Sharlto Copley (from Maleficent and Oscar-nominated District 9) and Bollywood actors Sikandar Kher (from 24: India) and Sobhita Dhulipala (from Ghost Stories, also released by Netflix).

Words by Reem Ahmed


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