Robert Downey Jr., a two-time Academy Award-nominated actor (for Chaplin and Tropical Thunder) and the eternal Iron Man, will play multiple characters in a new HBO series. The drama is a partnership with producer A24 inspired by the Pulitzer Prize-winning book The Sympathizer. The adaptation is led by South Korean director and producer Park Chan-wook, responsible for the cinematic success of Oldboy.
Viet Thanh Nguyen’s book, which inspires The Sympathizer, is a satire: a thriller about the struggles of a half-French, half-Vietnamese communist spy during the last days of the Vietnam War and in his subsequent exile in the United States.
According to Deadline, Downey Jr. will play several supporting roles, all representing a different arm of the American establishment. Among the characters are a California politician, a CIA agent and a Hollywood film director. The production is now conducting a search for the actor who will play the lead role and the rest of the cast — who must be predominantly Vietnamese.
Park Chan-wook, in addition to directing, will be the series’ showrunner alongside filmmaker Don McKellar. The two will also executive produce The Sympathizer alongside Downey Jr. and his production team, Team Downey.
Adapting The Sympathizer
“The adaptation of Mr. Nguyen’s important and masterful work requires a visionary team. With Director Park in charge, I hope it will be a creative production adventure for Susan, me and Team Downey, and an exciting process for myself as I play these complex supporting roles,” Downey Jr. told Deadline.
Team Downey recently produced the HBO series Perry Mason — renewed for season two — while producer A24 produces the HBO series Euphoria, among other hits.
With the exception of the movie Dolittle, the new drama series will mark Downey Jr.’s first major performance since hanging up Iron Man Tony Stark’s cleats. The actor is eager to remind audiences of his reach as an actor outside the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
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