Dev Patel Explores His ‘Monkey Man’ Inspirations in New Video [Exclusive]


The Big Picture

  • Dev Patel makes his directorial debut with
    Monkey Man
    , a gritty action thriller.
  • Patel’s film is influenced by a mix of genres, from romantic dramas to martial arts classics like
    Enter the Dragon
  • Monkey
    stars Patel as a vengeful fighter seeking revenge against corrupt leaders, taking on a John Wick-style persona.

As an actor, Dev Patel has delivered no shortage of critically acclaimed performances between Slumdog Millionaire, Lion, and The Green Knight among other films. Monkey Man, however, finally gives him a chance to call the shots behind the camera in a feature film while also taking on the lead role as a young man hungry for vengeance against the corporate overlords who have ruined his life. Before he unleashes the beast on theatergoers later this week, Collider can exclusively share the latest Alamo Drafthouse Guest Selects video featuring Patel as he explores six of the films that inspired his violent action thriller.

Leading off the selection is the 2018 Swedish film Border by Ali Abbasi about a vigilant customs officer and her special bond with a suspicious man who challenges her perspective. Patel appreciated the performances, practical effects, and “heightened realism” of the love story between trolls that integrates folklore, not entirely unlike how Monkey Mantakes inspiration from the legend of Hanuman. For the grittier side of his debut film, he looked to the Tahar Rahim-led A Prophet by Jacques Audiard for its “heart in your throat” depiction of a petty criminal scratching and clawing his way up the prison hierarchy by any means necessary. Coupled with that, he looked to the Korean thriller I Saw the Devil by Jee-woon Kim for its depiction of the price of revenge. Patel believes nobody does vengeance better than Korean auteurs and, with two powerful leading performances to go with its sadistic story, it’s a standout film in his eyes.

His fourth choice for his guest selects is Céline Sciamma‘s romance Portrait of a Lady on Fire, a film he looked to primarily because of its stunning visuals and the central relationship between the painter Marianne (Noémie Merlant) and her subject, Héloïse (Adèle Haenel) that left the director invested. On the flip side, Patel describes the impact Robert Clouse‘s Enter the Dragon had on him from a young age because of Bruce Lee. The martial arts icon inspired a wave of action films and filmmakers from John Woo to Quentin Tarantino, and Patel is no exception, citing him as “one of the first icons I could relate to.” To round out his list, he takes a different approach with Carlos Reygadas‘s Silent Night which takes place inside a Mennonite colony. A decidedly more delicate film, Patel described it as “poetry” as it explores one man’s predicament after his place in the community is threatened by his love for another woman.

What Can Audiences Expect From ‘Monkey Man’?

Previously described as “John Wick in Mumbai”, Monkey Manteams up Patel and horror maestro producer Jordan Peele to tell the story of the anonymous Kid. After corrupt leaders murder his mother and ruin his life, the Kid grows up to become a fighter in an underground club who grinds out a living by taking beatings from more popular fighters while hiding his face with a gorilla mask. He finally gets a chance to let out years of pent-up rage when he discovers a way to infiltrate the city’s sinister upper crust and wage war against the man who made his life hell. Patel transforms into a vicious and erratic action star with a debut feature that hopes to appeal to fans of both Hollywood and Bollywood.

Sharlto Copley, Sobhita Dhulipala, Pitobash, Vipin Sharma, Ashwini Kalsekar, Adithi Kalkunte, Sikandar Kher, and Makarand Deshpande round out the cast of the thriller, which has been earning plenty of praise since its debut at SXSW in March. Collider’s Perri Nemiroff gave it a 6/10 in her review and said that, despite its flaws, the film makes Patel a director to keep an eye on going forward. Fans of Monkey Man will get the chance to explore his inspiration thanks to Alamo Drafthouse which will host screenings of I Saw the Devil in select locations nationwide starting on May 29. Patel’s film itself hits theaters this Friday, April 5.

Before you Monkey Man, check out our guide here for everything to know about Patel’s feature directorial debut, and hear about his inspirations in the video below.

Monkey Man

A recently released ex-felon living in India struggles to adjust to a world of corporate greed and eroding spiritual values.

Release Date
April 4, 2024

113 minutes


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