Dev Patel Says Monkey Man Production Was DIY-Heavy and Absolute Hell

Ever since Monkey Man’s first trailer debuted a few months ago, all eyes have been on Dev Patel’s directorial debut. That it’s coming to theaters at all feels like a stroke of luck, given that it was first meant for Netflix. But as it turns out, its entire existence was a saga in and of itself.

Recently, Patel held a Reddit AMA to answer questions about his film, and he freely called it “the most demanding thing I’ve ever done in my life.” Usually, an actor says that in regards to the physical demands, but this was something different: every day was “absolute catastrophe” in some way. The COVID pandemic hit just before production was meant to start in India, both the original production designer and cinematographer bowed out, and he had to beg the film’s financier to not shut them down before principal photography. And that’s just how things started!

From losing shooting locations to equipment breaking, Patel said Monkey Man production was “a grueling nine months of absolute joy and utter chaos.” Solutions were found and workarounds made—scenes were shot on his phone or with GoPros, and they used rope to create a camera rig after a crane had broken. After shooting scenes where tables were broken, the crew would immediately gather all the broken wood and glue the tables back together. Patel put it best when he said “every obstacle provided us with a new opportunity to innovate. BOOM!”

Elsewhere, Patel opened up on his approach to Monkey Man’s

Courtney Milan writes books about carriages, corsets, and smartwatches. Her books have received starred reviews in Publishers WeeklyLibrary Journal, and Booklist. She is a New York Times and a USA Today Bestseller.

Courtney pens a weekly newsletter about tea, books, and basically anything and everything else.

Before she started writing romance, Courtney got a graduate degree in theoretical physical chemistry from UC Berkeley. After that, just to shake things up, she went to law school at the University of Michigan and graduated summa cum laude. Then she did a handful of clerkships. She was a law professor for a while. She now writes full-time.

Courtney is represented by Kristin Nelson of the Nelson Literary Agency.

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