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WarnerMedia’s premium cable outlet has given a series order to the project, which Park Chan-wook will direct and executive produce. Downey, via his Team Downey company, is also an executive producer and is set to appear on screen as well — playing several supporting roles.
“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,” said Downey. “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.”
The Sympathizer centers on an unnamed captain in the South Vietnamese army who’s secretly a communist and spy for the Viet Cong. He leaves Saigon for Southern California in 1975, where he becomes enmeshed in the exile community and serves as a cultural adviser to an American film about the war. He’s later recruited to return to Vietnam for a raid on the communists.
A worldwide search is underway for the lead actor; the cast will be predominantly Vietnamese.
Downey will play several supporting roles in the series, all of whom represent a different part of the American establishment: an up-and-coming Congressman from Orange County, a CIA officer and the director of the movie on which the lead character works.
Park (Oldboy, The Little Drummer Girl) and Don McKellar (Sensitive Skin, Last Night) will serve as co-showrunners of The Sympathizer. They executive produce with Team Downey’s Robert and Susan Downey and Amanda Burrell, Niv Fichman for Rhombus Media and Kim Ly. The series is a co-production between HBO, A24 and Rhombus Media, produced in association with Cinetic Media and Moho Film.
Team Downey also produces Perry Mason for HBO and recently re-upped its first-look deal with the premium cabler. Downey Jr. and Team Downey are repped by WME and Hansen Jacobson. Park is repped by WME, Industry Entertainment Partners and Hansen Jacobson. McKellar is repped by Great North Artists Management.
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