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The Sympathizer: HBO, Robert Downey Jr. & Park Chan-wook Set for Adapt

Robert Downey Jr., Susan Downey, and Team Downey (Perry Mason) are looking to keep their Emmy nomination-filled relationship with HBO going, with Deadline Hollywood reporting exclusively that the Avengers star will not only adapt Viet Thanh Nguyen's Pulitzer-Prizer winning novel The Sympathizer to series. But what makes this deal different from Perry Mason is that Downey Jr. is also attached to co-star in the series. The novel is 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 subsequent exile in the United States. Reportedly, Downey will be taking on several supporting roles as the lead's (which is still in the casting process) main antagonists (all symbolizing various aspects of "The American Establishment"- from a politician to a CIA agent, a Hollywood film director, and more. Park Chan-wook (Oldboy) and Don McKellar will serve as co-showrunners, with Chan-wook also directing the project. Chan-wook and McKellar will executive produce alongside Downey Jr., Downey, and Amanda Burrell for Team Downey; and Niv Fichman and Kim Ly for Rhombus Media. HBO, A24, and Rhombus Media produce in association with Cinetic Media and Moho Film.

the sympathizer
Image: Grove Press

First published by Grove Press in April 2015, here's a look at the overview for The Sympathizer:

It is April 1975, and Saigon is in chaos. At his villa, a general of the South Vietnamese army is drinking whiskey and, with the help of his trusted captain, drawing up a list of those who will be given passage aboard the last flights out of the country. The general and his compatriots start a new life in Los Angeles, unaware that one among their number, the captain, is secretly observing and reporting on the group to a higher-up in the Viet Cong. The Sympathizer is the story of this captain: a man brought up by an absent French father and a poor Vietnamese mother, a man who went to university in America, but returned to Vietnam to fight for the Communist cause. A gripping spy novel, an astute exploration of extreme politics, and a moving love story, The Sympathizer explores a life between two worlds and examines the legacy of the Vietnam War in literature, film, and the wars we fight today.

"Adapting Mr. Nguyen's important and masterful work requires a visionary team. With Director Park at the helm, I expect this to be a creative producing adventure for Susan, me, and Team Downey, and a stimulating process for myself in playing these complex supporting roles," Downey, Jr., said in a statement. "A24 and HBO are the perfect combination of partners and co-parents… It's exactly the type of challenge I've been craving, and I believe we will deliver an exceptional viewing experience to our audience."

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Ray FlookAbout Ray Flook

Serving as Television Editor since 2018, Ray began five years earlier as a contributing writer/photographer before being brought onto the core BC team in 2017.
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