HBO and A24 are producing a new drama series titled The sympathizer with Robert Downey Jr. watch and produce and Park Chan-wook (Old Boy, Joint Security Area, Soif, The Handmaiden, The Vengeance, Sympathy for Mr. Vengeanceand lady revenge) directing and serving as showrunner. The project just added several new cast members, including Sandra Oh.
Other cast members include Kieu Chinh (Dynasty) and Nguyen Cao Ky Duyen (Paris by night) that are defined for key recurring roles. They are joined by Hoa Xuande (cowboy bebop), Fred Nguyen Khan (Transplant), Toan Le, You The and Alan Trong (tomorrow’s war), all of Vietnamese descent.
The sympathizer is an adaptation of the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by Viet Thanh Nguyen. It is “a spy thriller and cross-cultural 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.”
Described as “a searing exploration of identity and America, a gripping spy novel, and a powerful tale of love and friendship,” the novel is hailed as a new classic of war fiction and has been compared to the works of Kafka, Orwell and le Carré.
Oh will play Ms. Sofia Mori, “a liberated feminist who, in the midst of a love triangle, begins to awaken to the complexity of her own Asian-American identity.”
Chinh plays the major’s mother. “Longing for Vietnam, she doesn’t adapt easily to her new situation, unlike her son who jumped feet first.”
Nguyen is Madame, “the general’s wife and elegant and towering matriarch who is desperate to save her modest daughter and her husband from falling apart as they begin their life as refugees anew.”
Xuande portrays The Captain, “a spy for North Vietnam embedded in the refugee community in Los Angeles. A man of two minds and a dual identity, the Captain is caught between conflicting loyalties, conflicting desires, and is ultimately forced to confront what it means to sympathize.
Nguyen Khan is Bon, “the Captain’s childhood friend who refuses to highlight the Captain’s multiple identities. A proud member of the Army of the Republic of Vietnam, Bon arrives in Los Angeles after a tragic loss and ultimately finds new meaning in the most unlikely places and circumstances.
Toan Le plays the General, “the larger-than-life former leader of South Vietnam’s secret police. Taken by paranoia, the general is obsessed with detecting traitors among the refugee community in Los Angeles and feverishly pursues his goal of carrying out a counter-revolutionary mission in his native country.
You The portrays Lana, “the general’s rebellious daughter. Speaking of both American and Vietnamese culture, she has an amazing ability to absorb and adapt to American popular culture, a dizzying ability for the captain and unnerving for her father.
In is Sonny, “the captain’s idealistic former classmate and now editor of a Vietnamese-language newspaper in Los Angeles. Sonny is free to pursue his desires and ideals with open passion, which is the perfect foil for the captain.
Downey Jr. is set to “play multiple supporting roles as primary antagonists, all of which represent a different branch of the American establishment.”
It seems like an interesting project.
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Sandra Oh and More Join Robert Downey Jr. and Park Chan-wook’s HBO Drama Series THE SYMPATHIZER – CNET – ApparelGeek