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Dev Patel heads up action movie 'Monkey Man' with 'John Wick' connection

British actor Dev Patel at the 2017 Academy Awards

"Slumdog Millionaire" breakout star and last year, an Oscar nominee for "Lion," Dev Patel is making his directorial debut with "Monkey Man," inspired by Indian mythology.

Dev Patel will star in "Monkey Man," an action movie he co-wrote and will direct.

It follows the Kid, a recently released convict determined to start anew -- by fighting for spiritual values in a corrupt and greedy world.

It's to be his first feature as director. Patel wrote the movie with John Collee, who wrote the script to early 2019 Patel picture "Hotel Mumbai," and Paul Angunawela of British comedy movie "Keith Lemon."

Also on board are producer Basil Iwanyk and stunt production company 87Eleven, both of "John Wick," as well as director of photography Chung-hoon Chung of original Park Chan-wook action thriller "Old Boy" and Stephen King adaptation "It."

"Monkey Man" is to start filming in early 2019 on location in Mumbai. In advance of that, it will be presented to potential distributors at the 2018 American Film Market, which begins October 31.

With a US$1.6bn haul for the year 2017, India is the world's fifth-largest international box office market, behind only the US, China, Japan and the UK, per the MPAA.

Indian films are also reaching a growing international audience. Period drama "Padmaavat," wrestling biopic "Dangal," romance "Monsoon Wedding," action fantasy "Baahubali 2" and comedy drama "PK" all cleared US$10m at the North American box office.

And tightly-shot action movies have the potential to break out of their home markets to become global hits; Indonesian martial arts series "The Raid" made a big impact in 2011 while India's international own cult hit "Gangs of Wasseypur" put down a marker in 2012.