Monkey Man: Dev Patel Details ‘Most Demanding’ Production of His Life

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Written By Sedoso Feb

Dev Patel recently opened up about the production process of his upcoming action movie Monkey Man, calling it the hardest thing he’s ever had to film.

In a recent Reddit AMA session on the site’s Movies subreddit, Patel was asked how stressful it was to direct, write, and act in the film, to which Patel said it was “the most demanding thing” he’s ever done. He then opened up about many of the hardships he faced in getting the film made.

“It was the most demanding thing I’ve ever done in my life,” said Patel. “Every day, we faced absolute catastrophe. 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 DOP and the film was basically dead. Then 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.”

Closing locations, tight budget, and more hardships were faced

Patel opened up about how, due to the onset of COVID-19, shooting locations became inaccessible right before production, and that money became so sparse that producers literally had to spend out of pocket to get things done.

“All of the locations we prepped for months at — we lost day of – -so we had to adapt last minute – the borders closed also, I couldn’t bring in lots of supporting characters, so I ended up having to put every tailor, lighting guy, accountant, etc. in front of the camera. Speaking of cameras, most of our equipment broke, and we couldn’t fly in new stuff, so we literally shot stuff on my mobile phone, GoPros. 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. Also, there were days when I would turn up to set and we literally didn’t have any tops to the tables in the VIP room sequence – i asked the set designer and they said they literally didn’t have any money in the account to buy the glass. So I had to shoot above the shoulders as one of our producers ran his personal credit card to buy the glass to cover the table tops so we could shoot the rest of the scene…” Patel said.

“Speaking of tables, we only had three or four breakaway 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… in a very long nutshell every obstacle provided us with a new opportunity to innovate. Boom!”

Monkey Man is out in theaters on April 5, 2024.

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