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Dev Patel on ‘Monkey Man’ Sequel Possibilities and Trans Representation: ‘This Is an Anthem for the Underdogs, the Voiceless and the Marginalized’

Dev Patel on ‘Monkey Man’ Sequel Possibilities and Trans Representation: ‘This Is an Anthem for the Underdogs, the Voiceless and the Marginalized’

Dev Patel refused to let the slew of injuries he suffered while filming his elaborate fight scenes in “Monkey Man” get in the way of him completing the movie.

Patel not only directed and co-wrote the action movie, but he also stars as Kid, a young man who seeks to avenge his mother’s death at the hands of India’s corrupt law enforcement officials, political figures and spiritual leaders. He earns money by competing in a brutally violent underground fight club.

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While Patel recently outlined the many production hurdles he had to overcome to make the film in a Reddit AMA, Variety caught up with him at the “Monkey Man” premiere in Los Angeles on Wednesday to talk about the film’s impact on his body during the four-month shoot in Indonesia.  “I broke my hand in the first big action scene, broke some toes, tore a shoulder, eye infections, bruises,” Patel said.

Eye infections?

“I was crawling on a bathroom floor and it’s flooding. We were shooting this scene for three days,” Patel explained. “All the crew were coming in with their dirty shoes and I’m drinking this water literally. It was grimy stuff.”

Sikandar Kher, whose villainous Rana spars with Patel, revealed that the director-star immediately returned to filming after undergoing surgery for his broken hand. “I was like, ‘Man, this is too much because you don’t want to hurt the guy anymore. It’s enough,’” Kher said. “But he mustered through it.”

The movie also includes a group of trans and gender-nonconforming characters who join Kid in his fight against India’s elite. “For me, this is an anthem for the underdogs, the voiceless and the marginalized,” Patel said. “Together they wage this war for the good and the just, and for me, I really wanted to include the hijra community, the third gender in India.”

He added, “We should be fighting for each other, not against each other.”

Vipin Sharma, who plays trans woman Alpha, recently attended a screening of the movie for the trans community. “I was almost in tears when they said they loved it, they loved the representation and they were very happy about it,” he said. “That just touched my heart.”

While many of cast members said they’d love to see a “Monkey Man” sequel, Patel said, “I’m trying not to get ahead of myself. I know this sounds like a cliché, but just to … birth this little thing, it’s been a huge undertaking. This is all a dream come true.”

“Monkey Man” is in theaters April 5.

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