Monkey Man Left Dev Patel Physically Broken And Beaten

Dev Patel's directorial debut "Monkey Man" is due in theaters on April 5, and reviews so far have been largely positive. /News's own Jacob Hall praised the film for its efficient brutality, keen at Patel's abilities to wallow in emotions as he is capably murdering foes. Patel plays a character known only as "Kid," who seeks to murder a cadre of local bad guys as revenge for the death of his mother. In so doing, he unwittingly becomes a legendary hero for the locals, all beset by the same cadre of bad guys. 

"Monkey Man" has been compared to "John Wick" in both its action brutality and lean premise. Patel also co-wrote the screenplay, produced the film, and likely did the catering as well, given his devotion to the project. If nothing else, "Monkey Man" seems to be Patel's proof to studios that he can handle major action projects. For the fights, Patel worked with experienced fight choreographer and stunt coordinator Brahim Chab who worked as a stunt double for Jean-Claude Van Damme, and who has worked on dozens of Indian action pictures. Americans might have seen his work in "The Hangover Part II," "Mechanic: Resurrection," or the video game "Assassin's Creed Mirage."

Patel did a lot of his own fighting for the movie, so naturally, he got pretty banged up during the shoot. Patel was interviewed by Variety for the "Monkey Man" premiere in Los Angeles, and was eager to share his injurious woes. He even got an eye infection from a dirty bathroom floor. The bathroom floor was a set, but the water on set got dirty nonetheless, and his infection became a problem. It's not the sort of injury one expects while shooting a fight flick. 

Round One, Fight!

The first injury came right away. As mentioned, the eye infection came as a surprise. Patel said: 

"I broke my hand in the first big action scene, broke some toes, tore a shoulder, eye infections, bruises. [As for the eye infecetion] I was crawling on a bathroom floor and it's flooding. We were shooting this scene for three days. [...] All the crew were coming in with their dirty shoes and I'm drinking this water literally. It was grimy stuff."

Let no one say that artists don't suffer for their art. One can safely assume, however, that Patel was merely pushing himself to fight harder, and that there were plenty of medics and doctors on set to take care of any potential injuries. He didn't appear bandaged or in pain during the premiere, so one can also safely assume that he has completely recovered from his injuries. The injuries, he revealed in a Reddit AMA, were only one of the many hurdles his production faced. 

But, it was all worth it. Patel said: 

"I begged our financier not to shut us down a few weeks before principal photography," Patel wrote. "We were meant to shoot in India then COVID hit. I lost my initial production designer and [cinematographer] 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." 

Patel revealed he had to shoot certain scenes on his phone when the camera equipment broke, and that the borders closed, forcing him to employ basically the entire local population to help. 

It sounds wild. Luckily, the film is poised to succeed.