Here’s a quick little pull quote to get you excited: “John Wick in Mumbai.” That’s how one insider speaking to Deadline describes actor Dev Patel’s directorial debut Monkey Man, which was just acquired by Netflix in a $30 million deal for worldwide rights. The 30-year-old actor co-wrote, directed and stars in the movie, which finished filming recently and is expected to hit Netflix in 2022. We can only imagine the wait is thanks to release schedules having been pushed back quite a bit during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Details about the plot are scarce, but the film will apparently see the Oscar-nominated Patel play “an unlikely hero who emerges from prison to take on a world enmeshed in corporate greed and eroding spiritual values, seeking revenge from those who took everything from him years before.” Alternatingly sounding like an action movie and more serious revenge thriller, that description evokes both John Wick but also South Korean revenge thrillers such as Oldboy or I Saw the Devil. Deadline also revealed that the film also reportedly stars Sharlto Copley, Sobhita Dhulipala and Sikander Kher. Patel wrote the film alongside Paul Angunwela and John Collee.
The title Monkey Man, meanwhile, is a reference to the Hindu deity Hanuman, a half-man, half-monkey warrior who is a major part of the epic myth cycle Ramayana. Hanuman is thus a character known in pop culture throughout India.
In a statement to Deadline, Patel said the following about his first film: “I’m so thrilled to be partnering with Netflix on this adventure. I hope this will be a fresh addition to the genre at a time in this industry where my story can become our story. Shooting a film during a pandemic has been quite challenging to say the least, but the opportunity to reimagine stories from my childhood and infuse them with my love of action cinema has been an absolute joy. Big love to Basil Iwanyk and Erica Lee for championing us from the very beginning and Aaron Gilbert and the team at Bron for giving an unproven filmmaker like myself a voice.”
We’ll bring you more information on Monkey Man as it breaks. Patel, meanwhile, will finally be seen in David Lowery’s long-delayed The Green Knight from A24 this July, playing the lead role of Sir Gawain.