Ready to sympathize with “The Sympathizer,” the miniseries adaptation of the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by Viet Thanh Nguyen starring Hoa Xuande and Robert Downey, Jr.? Well, the first trailer for the series from Park Chan-wook and A24 is here. And it’s a doozy. Watch it above.
HBO described the series as “an espionage thriller and cross-culture satire about the struggles of a half-French, half-Vietnamese Communist spy during the final days of the Vietnam War and his resulting exile in the United States.” The show also stars Fred Nguyen, Toan Le, Duy Nguyễn, Vy Le and Alan Trong, with Sandra Oh, Kieu Chinh, Nguyen Cao Ky Duyen and Robert Downey, Jr. in several roles. And it looks wild. HBO head Casey Bloys highlighted the series at an event Wednesday unveiling the new Max streaming service from Warner Bros. Discovery.
The series comes from Park Chan-wook, who serves as co-showrunner, executive producer, writer, and director (of the first three episodes); with Don McKellar as co-showrunner, executive producer and writer; Downey, Jr., Susan Downey and Amanda Burrell executive producing for Team Downey. Fernando Meirelles and Marc Munden are the other directors. The series is a co-production between HBO, A24 and Rhombus Media, produced in association with Cinetic Media and Moho Film.
“The Sympathizer” marks the first small-screen role for Downey, Jr. since he joined the cast of “All McBeal” from 2000 to 2002. Originally he was set to star in the HBO reboot of “Perry Mason” but he ended up ceding the role to Matthew Rhys, staying on as a producer. Park is coming off of his 2022 Hitchcockian drama “Decision to Leave” and is known for features like “The Handmaiden” and “Oldboy.” Park last dabbled in television in 2018 with “The Little Drummer Girl,” a very different spy thriller that starred a young Florence Pugh, Michael Shannon and Alexander Skarsgård.
“The Sympathizer” won the Pulitzer Prize and inspired a sequel, “The Committed,” that was released in 2021. Season 2 anyone?