If the title sounds familiar but you don’t know why; that’s because it happened in Viet Thanh Nguyen’s highest-grossing debut espionage thriller. Released in 2015, The Sympathizer won the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, and like all good books, gets its TV series adaptation.
It’s been a while since we’ve seen Robert Downey Jr. as anything (or anyone for that matter), other than Iron Man. Of course, he has a few roles scattered throughout his career; but for the most part his commitment to the Marvel Universe is unmatched. After officially hanging up his Iron Man suit, we were left wondering where he was going next. Today, we finally got our answer with news that RDJ is joining the cast of the highly anticipated series adaptation of The Sympathizer.
The story follows an unnamed half French, half Vietnamese communist spy during the final days of the Vietnam War and his exile in the United States.
Although Downey Jr. will not be the lead role, he will be producing the show in addition to his co-star role. This is enough proof that this series will definitely do the books justice. Below, we’ve gathered everything we know about The Sympathizer series so far.
What is The Sympathizer About?
As we know, the plot of this series focuses on a half French, half Vietnamese communist spy who retraces the story of the South Vietnamese Government in 1975 and the events that led him into American exile.
A cross-cultural thriller meets satire, the story has been described as “a blazing exploration of identity and America, a gripping spy novel and a powerful tale of love and friendship.”
The Sympathizer Release Date
Given that most of the casting is still ongoing, we haven’t received a release date for The Sympathizer yet. What we do know is that this series is being produced by HBO and A24 and we can be sure that it will air this year, which is 2022, so at least we know that the series will appear on your favorite platforms soon.
The Sympathizer Cast: Who’s In It?
Robert Downey Jr. is confirmed to be starring in the upcoming series. Reportedly, he will be playing various supporting roles; all of them will represent different arms of the American establishment.
Sir Ben Kingsley as The protagonist
The Theorist: The Communist agent, played by James Franco. He becomes disillusioned with his mission when he starts to sympathize with America’s war effort in Southeast Asia.
Minh (Nguyen Ngoc Loan): The protagonist’s best friend and a fellow agent. The two have been friends since childhood in Vietnam and share an intimate bond
Major General Nguyen Ngoc Loan: The Communist general who is the primary antagonist of The Sympathizer. His character is based on Vo Nguyen Giap, chief strategist for North Vietnamese Army during the Vietnam War
Joanne (Lorraine Toussaint): The protagonist’s girlfriend, a nurse from New York
Phuong: The protagonist’s cousin and the narrator of The Sympathizer. He is described as having an “old soul” in contrast with his “childish exterior.” His father was revolutionary martyr Nguyen Cong Hoan
Tran Le The: The protagonist’s childhood friend. His father was a wealthy businessman who owned many rubber plantations and was politically active in the 1940s before becoming an informant for the Diem regime.
Tran, The Tiger: The head of the secret police for Saigon. The character is based on Tran Ngoc Quang and Colonel Bui Tin, who are both key players in the Vietnam War as well as recent Vietnamese history
The Sympathizer Detail Plot & Summary
The sympathizer take us deep into the world of the Communist Party. The narrator is an undercover Communist agent – or “sympathizer” – who has infiltrated Saigon’s South Vietnamese police force. The protagonist and story are based on Nguyen Van Lem, a Vietcong double agent who managed to work undetected in the South Vietnamese system for eleven years. The novel opens with his arrest by two fellow police officers loyal to The Party.
The narrator tells the reader that the Party is not omnipotent but has a strong will and a long memory.
The Sympathize tells the gripping situation of a French-Vietnamese double agent who manages to infiltrate Saigon’s South Vietnamese police force and eventually penetrate the Communist Party. The narrator, an undercover Communist agent, is part of a vast network linking Eastern Europe to Hanoi, from Beijing to The Buon Ma Thuot. The sympathizer is a communist agent in the South Vietnamese police force.