Oscar-nominated actor Dev Patel has sold his directorial debut, a revenge thriller called Monkey Man, to Netflix for a reported $30 million. The Slumdog Millionaire star also co-wrote the script and will play the lead.
Indian actress Sobhita Dhulipala, best known for her role in the Amazon series Made in Heaven, has also been cast in the film, along with South African actor Sharlto Copley, who starred in the acclaimed 2009 film District 9.
"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," Patel told Deadline.
“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.”
Partly inspired by the Hindu god Hanuman, who takes the form of half-human, half monkey, Patel will play an unlikely hero who emerges from prison and seeks revenge on the people who wronged him, in the India-set Monkey Man.
Filming has just wrapped up in Indonesia, where production was moved owing to coronavirus restrictions in India.
One industry insider who has seen footage described the movie to Deadline as "John Wick in Mumbai".
"What appealed to me about the project is that it's a collaborative spirit, a young and rather eccentric approach to the story and most certainly the people involved. I knew it would be special from the get go. I really enjoyed my character's tender dilemmas, they were as glamorous as sorrowful," Dhulipala told the Hindustan Times this week.
Patel was last seen in the comedy-drama The Personal History of David Copperfield, and will next play the lead in medieval fantasy film The Green Knight, scheduled to be released in the summer.
Monkey Man is due for release in 2022.