Robert Downey Jr Taking part in Many Characters In ‘The Sympathizer’ Park Chan-Wook’s Concept


SPOILER ALERT: This text incorporates particulars of the primary episode of HBO‘s restricted sequence The Sympathizer, which premiered on April 14.

“All proper, see you stateside,” says Robert Downey Jr’s Claude quips with some gallows humor to Hoa Xuande’s The Captain close to the top of the primary episode of HBO’s The Sympathizer as communist North Vietnamese forces bombard soon-to-fall Saigon in 1975.

If the slippery CIA officer was the one position Oscar winner Downey portrays within the multi-genre adaptation of Viet Thanh Nguyen’s Pulitzer-winning novel, it could seize numerous consideration on or off cable. Nevertheless, the actual fact is Downey performs a number of characters in multicultural and multinational The Sympathizer from showrunners Park Chan-wook and Don McKellar because the motion strikes from the dying days of the American Conflict, as it’s recognized in Southeast Asia, to Southern California and again once more.

Together with the music fan spymaster and mentor to the Captain, the actor additionally pops up as a scheming Congressman, an grad college professor and self-absorbed Hollywood director looking for to make the definitive film within the Vietnam Conflict.

It’s a coup de maître.

A coup de maître that Oldboy director Park conceived to bluntly make some extent. The acclaimed filmmaker revealed his pondering behind the transfer to a FYC panel for The Sympathizer on the Paramount lot final week earlier than the present premiered.

From left: Viet Thanh Nguyen, Park Chan-wook and translator, Don McKellar, Robert Downey Jr., Susan Downey, Niv Fichman, Hoa Xuande, Sandra Oh, Fred Nguyen Khan, and Duy Nguyen onstage throughout HBO’s ‘The Sympathizer’ FYC occasion.

“I got here to understand these guys are literally one and the identical as a result of they’re doing all totally different type of issues, however primarily they’re representing America as a complete,” Park instructed Nguyen of the American characters within the e-book. “I used to be planning to solid the entire nice actors for every of the roles …so Mark Ruffalo for this position, after which Josh Brolin for this position,” Park added through translator earlier than a packed Paramount Theatre after a screening of the opening episode.

“However the factor is, if we’ve all these nice actors, and so they carry out beautifully, then …every of the characters would come alive and that might truly subvert my authentic intention that these characters are purported to be one and the identical,” Park additional defined onstage with Nguyen McKellar, solid members Downey, Sandra Oh, Hoa Xuande, Fred Nguyen Khan, Duy Nguyen and Eps Susan Downey and Niv Fichman. “So, I believed I’d flip the script and that one actor will probably be taking part in all these roles. So, who ought to it’s? Properly, the one and solely Robert.”

“I’m a blunt instrument,” deadpanned Downey to laughs from his fellow Sympathizer panelists and the screening viewers.

“I really feel just like the exploitation and appropriation and marginalized of peoples is one thing that I’ve witnessed in my many many years on this medium of movie and TV,” a considerate Downey stated. “And it was actually attention-grabbing to have the mirror held up and say, how would you wish to signify all of the other ways through which you’ve witnessed these kinds of, these degrading acts happen in society, in media, in the way in which a tradition assumes the opposite is supposed to be made small and simply a part of its story?’ the actor and Sympathizer EP thoughtfully added.

“It was an ideal alternative and a problem.”

Or as Claude says to Toan Le’s the Basic as he, the double agent Captain, different excessive rating South Vietnamese army officers and their households put together to flee: “C’mon, we’re CIA, we’ll determine one thing out.”

The seven-episode The Sympathizer airs Sundays at 6 p.m. PT/9 p.m. ET. and streams on Max quickly afterward. The restricted sequence is a co-production of HBO, A24 and Rhombus Media, produced in affiliation with Moho Movie and Cinetic Media.

In addition to the Paramount Theatre panel happening final week, Deadline went backstage with The Sympathizer solid and creatives to debate the imaginative and prescient and path to bringing the novel to the display screen – have a look: