Dev Patel Broke His Hand Filming a Fight Scene in Monkey Man

Dev Patel Broke His Hand Filming a Fight Scene in Monkey Man

preview for Monkey Man - Official Trailer (Universal)

WE ARE ABOUT to witness Dev Patel as we’ve never seen him before. The actor, known for his roles as a young man in Skins and Slumdog Millionaire, has been busy working on his directorial debut Monkey Man, a gritty revenge thriller set in Mumbai. In a recent interview with Jimmy Fallon, Patel explained just how much of a labor of love this movie has been, and literal blood, sweat and tears that went into making it.

“I’ve been working on it for over 10 years of my life,” he said. “It was hard, like I turned down some of the best work that I’ve been waiting for my whole career to birth this little gremlin of a film.”

A huge lover of the action genre, Patel was eager to perform his own stunts in the movie—until he broke his hand while filming on a small Indonesian island mid-pandemic.

“In the first action scene, I’m basically a crash test dummy,” he said. “My co-star’s using my face to break every piece of porcelain in this bathroom. And my hand, I heard it snap, and I was like, this is not good… You’ve got 450 people on an island, and if I go down, the film goes down. We had a purpose, during a really prickly time in history. And I told my producer, don’t say anything, let’s just keep filming. By the end of the day, my hand was like an elephant’s foot.”

“We couldn’t afford to put a cast on and VFX it out of this movie, so we found a way to get around the system by getting this cheap medical private jet, to keep the Covid bubble, and we flew to Jakarta that night,” he continued. “The doctor put a screw in my hand, and he goes, you cannot put more than a pound or two of pressure on this thing, otherwise it’s like pulling a bent nail out of wood, you will ruin your bone… I went straight back to set the next day, and was throwing myself and bouncing off a window.”

dev patel, monkey man


Patel plays Kid, a young man who vows to wreak bloody vengeance on the people who were responsible for the death of his beloved mother, and who are behind all kinds of other crimes and corruptions in the slums of Mumbai. In addition to being a brutal, John Wick-esque action fest, Monkey Man is also inspired by the story of Hanuman, the Hindu monkey god that first captured Patel’s imagination when he was a child.

“If you go to a gym in India, you’ll see Arnold Schwarzenegger, the bodybuilder Ronnie Coleman, and Hanuman,” explained Patel. “He represents nobility and strength and courage… He was also a hero that lost faith in himself. He didn’t have courage at one point, and needed to be reminded of who he was. So that was kind of the basis of the story for me… It’s the ultimate underdog action film.”

Monkey Man is released in theaters on April 5.

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