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Everything we know about Dev Patel’s directional debut: “Monkey Man”

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Casper Libero chapter.

Loved by a lot of people, Dev Patel shares with the public the biggest challenges of acting and also directing his first film Monkey Man, inspired by Indian culture. The release date in Brazil is scheduled for May 23rd.

In the cinema industry, it is very common for artists to try out different roles within a film set. Famous movies such as the recent blockbuster Barbie, with Margot Robbie as actress and producer, and O Palhaço, directed and starring Selton Mello, are some examples. The newest actor to add “director” to his resume is Dev Patel, known for the pictures Slumdog Millionaire and The Green Knight.

The 34-year-old Brit had his first role in the 2007 series Skins, where he played Anwar Kharral, but it was only in 2024 that he also debuted behind the camera with Monkey Man, the new action and thriller movie of the year.


In the movie, viewers follow Kid (Dev Patel), a fighter who suffers from years of internalized anger, result of losses throughout his life, and discovers a way to infiltrate an environment taken over by the urban elite. When faced with the past, the man is dominated by the thirst for revenge against his greatest enemies.


On the American program The Kelly Clarkson Show, Patel stated that he would like to create a film that his younger self would love to watch, so he opted for the action genre and was inspired by his hero Bruce Lee to face the challenge of more than a decade that was the making of the movie. 

Since he was little, he suffered racism because of his Indian heritage and tried to hide it from everyone, especially his classmates. But when thinking about the story he wanted to tell, Dev decided to embrace what he previously hid and explore his culture through art.

“When I was a kid, I used to run away from my culture in school. It wasn’t cool to be Indian, but to break the mold you have to enter it (…) I realized actually, you know, with the first movie I’m gonna direct, I’m not just gonna double down. I’m gonna triple down on the culture”, said the actor about the creative process of writing the picture.

In addition to being inspired by the younger version of himself, Patel had the idea for the script when he asked his father what the pendant on his neck chain meant. It was a monkey god who held a mountain with one hand, known as Hanuman in Hinduism. He is portrayed in Hindu mythology as a god who represents strength, altruism, nobility and heroism.

“In one of the old stories, he’s someone that forgot who he was. He lost confidence in himself, and that for me was an interesting arc for an action movie (…) He needs to be reminded by other outsiders and other marginalized people who he is, and together they challenge the gods of society, the status quo.”


In an interview with Jimmy Fallon on The Tonight Show, the actor and director shared some of the problems he and his crew faced during the months of filming. Before he even started the shootings, Dev broke his toes and had to postpone the plans until he got better, but in the first action scene, the movie star had an accident again and broke his fingers. “I’m no Jackie Chan”, he joked.

The pandemic was also a factor that gave the production an extra worry, as it made it impossible to exchange or rent resources for the film. That led to a scene recorded on Patel’s own cell phone, which people can watch in the cinema, and also to scenes taken in a bathtub, and not in a water tank as planned.


The Oscar-winning director Jordan Peele, known for Get Out, Us and NOPE is also credited on Monkey Man as a producer. In an interview with Digital Spy, the filmmaker stated that the moment he saw Dev Patel’s ideas, he decided to support the thriller. Faced with so much passion and appreciation, he promised to work with the 33-year-old actor again in his next productions.

“When I found out that he essentially already made this film, I knew we had to jump on board and we had to help as much as possible.”

Promising and talented are adjectives that fit Dev Patel perfectly. At a young age and with great filmography, the actor, and now director, only gets more and more recognition and future projects. So, are you really going to miss out on the opportunity to see Monkey Man in theaters?


The article above was edited by Malu Alcântara.

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Isabella Simões

Casper Libero '27

I'm a passionate girl when it comes to discovering new worlds through communication, but even more passionate when I can share it with everyone.