Video Interviews

Dev Patel and Jordan Peele on Monkey Man and the Process of Directing

The writer-director-star and the producer of the film engage in a special conversation to discuss how they came to work together, what their directorial styles are, and more.

by | April 1, 2024 | Comments


After making his feature acting debut in Danny Boyle’s Slumdog Millionaire in 2008, Dev Patel has enjoyed a successful, eclectic career made up of sincere dramas, action thrillers, and even existential adventures. This year, though, he finally makes his directorial debut in Monkey Man, which he also wrote and stars in as an underground fighter who embarks on a campaign of revenge against the corrupt elite who murdered his mother and massacred his village.

Ahead of the film’s release, Patel sat down with producer Jordan Peele for a special conversation about Monkey Man, with Patel detailing how he knew Peele’s Monkeypaw Productions was the perfect fit and both of them discussing their unique approach to film directing, the hardships that come with it, and the differences inherent in every project.

Dev Patel: Let me ask you the first thing. What attracted you to this little gremlin of a movie?

Jordan Peele: When I first heard about the film, I didn’t actually even realize that you had directed it. I just heard that Dev Patel is starring in a revenge action film. “I gotta see this. This is perfect casting.” And when I saw it and realized it had an incredible director, whoever this was, and then when I realized it was you, I was like, “Oh, man, this guy’s about to go on the ride of his life.”

Patel: It was like… It’s a pretty magical moment for me. There was a film that had been dropped by our previous studio — he who shall not be named — and then I’m kind of licking my wounds. I’m in the countryside of England doing a low-budget horror film, and then I get this call from our agent, and he’s like, “Have you heard of this guy, Jordan Peele?” I was like, “Come on.” And he’s like “Jordan’s seen it. He wants to talk to you today.”

We got on the phone, and the first thing you said is, “Tell me everything. I know you’ve been through the works. Tell me everything.” And we spoke for like three hours. It was like a therapy session for me.

Peele: I knew you had been through a lot, but watching the film, you can see someone who, you know, from an acting standpoint alone, this is an incredible feat. But from a directing standpoint, I was just blown away. And I mean, I think, to really get down to it, what I saw immediately in that cut was, like, this guy is making movies the way they used to be made. He’s making a good film here, and he’s giving us everything. It’s so generous.

Watch the video for the full conversation between Dev Patel and Jordan Peele.

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