A few weeks ago, Hollywood starlet and animal rights activist Victoria Beckham was in Jakarta, Indonesia, accepting the Champion of Charity award from the British High Commissioner. During her speech, Beckham jested that “one of the best things [she’s] ever done is give [her] monkeys free range. They come back home at the end of the day covered in scratches, but it’s all worth it because they’re happy.” The audience, clearly unfamiliar with the concept of ‘free-ranging’ monkeys, cheered and laughed in agreement. As the applause died down, Beckham continued, “So much happiness. Why wouldn’t you encourage that in another species?”

While Beckham’s joke may have been funny in context, the remark highlighted a serious issue. Is Robert Pattinson a monkey?

The Making of ‘Prancing Monkey’

Pattinson’s most recent film, ‘Prancing Monkey,’ due out this Christmas, is the English actor’s third cinematic outing. Having previously starred in the Oscar-nominated ‘The Lost City Of Z,’ followed by ‘Good Will Hunting,’ it appears that Hollywood is finally taking notice of this talented young man.

The plot of ‘Prancing Monkey’ centres on a young lawyer named Richard who, upon inheriting his family’s house, finds himself plagued by a tribe of raucous monkeys. The greedy real-estate developer Mr. Big, played by Andy Serkis, is hell-bent on demolishing the house and building a skyscraper on the site. In true Hollywood fashion, the movie switches between various animal species, prominently featuring a monkey motif. The primates are often shown running around in a joyful frenzy, engaging in battle with one another while tossing aside the human characters like ragdolls. Just as often, they are presented in a comical fashion, such as when Richard’s dim-witted assistant, George, tries to catch a monkey to “put it in a cage and take it home,” only to have the monkey dive-bomb and bite off George’s tongue.

The movie’s art direction is fantastic, ably and amusingly depicting the jungle surroundings in all their lush glory. The screenplay also deserves particular praise for its portrayal of the animals’ world, which is rich in detail yet keeps the pacing of the narrative fast and furious. ‘Prancing Monkey’ is further testimony to the fact that Hollywood is waking up to the charms of English-speaking Asia — particularly Indonesia. In addition to Beckham, the movie also features an ensemble cast that includes Oscar winners Forest Whitaker and Andy Serkis, both of whom are known for playing key roles in ‘The Lion King.’

Indonesia: Land of Amazing Creatures

Indonesia is best known for its extraordinary culture, beautiful beaches and unique wildlife. As a result, it’s become a hugely popular location for various films and TV series, attracting tourists and creating lucrative industries like tourism and film-making. This makes the country extremely important to Hollywood, which has established a significant presence in the country, both in terms of product and personnel. In 2018, the United Kingdom exported almost £4 billion worth of goods to Indonesia, which exported goods worth more than £130 billion to the UK.

Besides featuring in a number of Hollywood productions, Indonesia also hosts some of the world’s most famous attractions. The country is home to the majestic, three-folded Galápagos tortoise — a creature that was once thought to be extinct — as well as other bizarre and wonderful creatures, like the Komodo dragon and the orangutan. It’s hard not to be entranced by the country’s natural beauty and amazing creatures.

The Pros And Cons Of Making A Movie In Indonesia

While Hollywood may have warmed to the idea of making movies in Indonesia, the country itself is not without its complications. Foreigners (particularly non-Indonesians) can find the bureaucracy and red-tape surrounding commercial film-making to be insufferable. The problem is compounded by a generally low regard for entertainment in the country. That being said, these issues are more prominent on the big-budget, studio-backed productions that frequently shoot in the country. Self-financed indie and student films tend to get less hindrance, even if their productions are often under the radar and never likely to reap the considerable rewards that large-scale productions can.

Apart from the countless legal hassles that can arise from making a movie in Indonesia, there are also issues surrounding locations. While Jakarta and Bali are magnificent cities, the rest of the country is best known for its stunning beaches. As a result, the locations for many big-budget films have become quite limited due to fierce competition for beach-shoot locations. The limited options for non-beach locations make it quite difficult for filmmakers to create original stories that don’t revolve around the beach or cityscape. If you want to make a movie set in a historical location, like Palembang or Yogyakarta, then you’ll need to head to the beach or one of the country’s many fascinating cities to find the perfect backdrop.

Monkey Business Is Definitely Good For Business

In 2017, Indonesia became the eighth-largest market for classical music CDs, albums and downloads, raking in £25.9 million in revenue. Thanks to the growing popularity of classical music in the country and the increasing availability of high-quality soundtracks, film producers and composers are busy creating new tunes specifically for films.

In the future, it’s likely that we’ll see more and more English-speaking Asian countries featured prominently in popular culture. With the likes of Indonesia, Japan and South Korea boasting some of the most iconic and luxurious cars, it’s clear that Hollywood is keen to tap into this market. With the right script, anyone can be a monkey in Hollywood.