We’ve been waiting for bated breath to find out what Robert Downey Jr.’s next onscreen career move would be after the disastrous Dolittle, and it sounds like he’s settled on what has the potential to be an absolute doozy. The two-time Academy Award nominee has signed on to play multiple supporting roles in HBO series The Sympathizer, and there’s some tantalizing talent attached to the project already.
Acclaimed independent studio A24 are partnering up with HBO to bring Viet Thanh Nuguyen’s Pulitzer Prize winning novel to life as a prestige episodic drama, with Sympathy for Lady Vengeance, Oldboy and Snowpiercer director Park Chan-wook is set to helm the entire run, and he’ll also co-showrun the project alongside Don McKellar.
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A cultural satire wrapped in the clothes of an espionage thriller, The Sympathizer follows a half-French, half-Vietnamese Communist spy during the tail end of the Vietnam War, and tracks his subsequent exile in the United States. The casting search is now underway to find the title character, while Downey Jr. will show up as a number of background players including a rising California Congressman, a CIA agent, a Hollywood director and more.
Not only is it the former Iron Man’s first foray into drama since 2014’s The Judge, but it also marks his first recurring small screen role in the 20 years since he was fired from Ally McBeal due to his well-publicized personal issues. Robert Downey Jr. is a phenomenally versatile talent, and playing several wildly different parts in a buzzy HBO show is sure to get his creative juices flowing in a way they haven’t been for years, and The Sympathizer already has ‘awards season darling’ written all over it, even at such an early stage.