5 massive roadblocks Dev Patel faced while making ‘Monkey Man’

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.

Monetary issues

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 dead,” wrote Dev.

He added that one of the producers had to use his 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 on board 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 grueling 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 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 with a new opportunity to innovate.

About the film

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 victimize 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.

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. (Hindustan Times)

Image courtesy of X@empiremagazine

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