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Dev Patel details “absolute catastrophe” of filming directorial debut ‘Monkey Man’

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Dev Patel has recalled the “absolute catastrophe” he faced throughout filming for his directorial debut Monkey Man.

The British actor’s new film premiered to a strong reaction at SXSW last month, but he has since spoken about how difficult it was to get the film made.

During a Reddit AMA (Ask Me Anything) ahead of the film’s cinema release this week (April 5), the actor said that directing, producing and acting in the film was “the most demanding thing I’ve ever done in my life”, per Variety.

He added that “everyday we faced absolute catastrophe” throughout the process.

“I begged our financier not to shut us down a few weeks before principal photography,” he said. “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.”

“All of the locations we prepped for months at – we lost day of – so we had to adapt last minute,” he continued.

“The borders closed also, so I couldn’t bring in lots of supporting characters. I ended up having to put every tailor, lighting guy, accountant etc. in front of the camera. Speaking of cameras, most of our equipment broke and we couldn’t fly in new stuff so we literally shot stuff on my mobile phone, go pros — when a crane broke we ended [up] creating this camera rig from rope which I termed the ‘pendulum cam,’ which swings over a large crowd of people then detaches and the operators run through the crowd whilst it was rolling.”

Patel continued that there were days when production “literally didn’t have any money” to complete sets.

He recalled that the team only had three or four break away tables, so once he performed “a huge bulk of stunts I would scream CUT and then immediately all of us would get on our hands and knees looking for all of the broken pieces of wood to glue the tables back together for the next shot”.

He concluded: “In a very long nutshell, every obstacle provided us with a new opportunity to innovate. BOOM!”

During a post-screening Q&A at SXSW, Patel said he also broke his toes two weeks before production, tore his shoulder during a fight sequence and got an eye infection after a filming a scene which required hm to crawl on a bathroom floor, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

The official synopsis for Monkey Man – which is produced by Jordan Peele – describes the film as an “action thriller about one man’s quest for vengeance against the corrupt leaders who murdered his mother and continue to systemically victimise the poor and powerless”.

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NME Original Article

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