Monkey Man: Dev Patel explains the influence of Bruce Lee and Asian cinema in his film

The actor explains his passion for Asian cinema and how he developed the action scenes in his directorial debut.

Dev Patel

After conquering foreign critics, the action movie Monkey Man finally arrived in cinemas on April 5th. The directorial debut of the well-known actor Dev Patel, the film is an action thriller that is also receiving acclaim from the public and has been compared by many to films such as John Wick and Kill Bill. Although the immediate association is with these films, Patel in a recent interview explained the influences of Asian cinema on his films and which films most played a role in defining the forms of his work before as a director.

Monkey Man: “The genesis was watching Bruce Lee as a child”

In a recent interview with Collider magazine, Dav Patel explained which films played a key role in helping him create a vision of himself and a voice of himself in the direction of Monkey Man.

“The genesis for me was watching Bruce Lee as a kid. Entering Dragon Three [1973, Robert Clouse] was the beginning of my love for cinema, period. Seeing a man like him, I related to him, in terms of skin tone, hair, and everything… I thought 'I want to be like this guy'. Then I started watching everything. Jet Lee, Sammo [Hung], Donnie Yen, Jackie [Chan]. Indonesian films, Korean cinema. They took my breath away, and took me to a different level of filmmaking.”

The actor and director then also explained how he developed the action scenes: “As for the action for the film, at the beginning [the pace] is a little more edgy as [the protagonist] is not still trained and does not control his emotions. The concept was 'this is my face, this is my body. How can you make sure you break as many things as possible in the bathroom with me?’ That was the beginning. Then, as he begins to learn how to use his tools and improves his powers, in those moments the sequences and scenes of the film become longer, and we begin to really see him. It all comes from the fact that, being called Monkey Man, the film had to be almost primordial, and therefore this is also the genesis of how the action scenes were created.“