the monkey man

Dev Patel is set to make his directorial feature debut with Monkey Man, a revenge thriller that earned significant buzz at last week’s virtual EDM. So of course it was Netflix, with its bottomless wells of money and eye for buzzy titles, that snatched up Monkey Man in an impressive $30 million deal.

Deadline reports that Netflix has struck a deal worth roughly $30 million for most of the worldwide rights — excluding existing deals in Spain, Latin America, Iceland, Former Yugoslavia, Poland, Russia & Baltic States, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Pan-Asian PTV and China — to Dev Patel’s directorial debut Monkey Man.

Netflix beat out several other bidders for the India-set revenge thriller in which Oscar nominee Patel stars as an “unlikely hero who emerges from prison to take on a world enmeshed in corporate greed and eroding spiritual values, and seeking revenge from those who took everything from him years before.” The film is partly inspired by the Hindu myth about the deity Hanuman who is half man, half monkey, per Deadline. But the finished product, as one source describes to the outlet, is more “John Wick in Mumbai.”

Patel wrote the script with Paul Angunawela and John Collee, who penned the 2018 thriller Hotel Mumbai, in which Patel starred. Starring alongside Patel in Monkey Man are Sharlto Copley (District 9), Sobhita Dhulipala (Psycho Raman) and Sikandar Kher (24: India).

It’s exciting to see Patel, such a talented and underused actor who has shown his leading man chops in films like The Personal History of David Copperfield and Lion (and in the upcoming The Green Knight), but hasn’t gotten nearly the attention from Hollywood that he deserves. So good for him for taking things into his own hands and giving himself a platform to be a John Wick-style action hero in a movie that will hopefully get a boost from Netflix. Patel said in a statement following the Netflix acquisition:

“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.”

Filming has just finished on the movie, which is a co-production between BRON Studios (Pieces of a Woman) and Thunder Road Pictures (the John Wick franchise) in association with Creative Wealth Media (Candyman). It is produced by Patel, Thunder Road’s Basil Iwanyk and Erica Lee, Jomon Thomas, Samarth Sahni, Christine Haebler and Anjay Nagpal.

Netflix is due to release it in 2022.

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