Saigoneer

Back Arts & Culture » Film & TV » Park Chan-Wook to Direct TV Series Based on Viet Thanh Nguyen's 'The Sympathizer'

Viet Thanh Nguyen’s Pulitzer Prize-winning 2015 novel The Sympathizer will be getting a TV adaptation directed by Park Chan-wook, the auteur behind the success of The Handmaiden and Oldboy.

Viet announced the series adaptation back in April on his Twitter account and expressed his excitement over the involvement of Chan-wook, whose work on Oldboy was a major influence on The Sympathizer. He added: "I hope Park Chan-wook, who did wonders with the octopus in OLDBOY, will be equally imaginative with the squid in THE SYMPATHIZER."

According to Collider, A24 Films and Rhombus Media will be tasked with producing the TV adaptation. A24 is a renowned studio famous for many Oscar-winning films such as Minari (2020), Moonlight (2016), and many others. Last year, the studio unveiled that it was in the process of adapting Ocean Vuong's debut novel On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous into a feature film.

In an episode of the A24 Podcast with Minari director Issac Chung, Viet Thanh Nguyen chronicles the journey of selling the rights of The Sympathizer for a screen adaptation. As the book delves into heavy materials related to war and the experience of refugees, he was very keen to look for someone with the right vision for the adaptation.

The collaboration between A24 Films and Park Chan-wook seems well-matched to accomplish that, though when asked whether he would do the screenwriting for the TV adaptation, Viet firmly stated: “I really don't want to do that. I'm a novelist first and foremost, so I want to write novels.”

Still, he shared that he's quite involved in the production. "I've been very active in meetings and in the creative side of the TV adaptation, and with Don McKellar, the writer," Viet explains in the podcast. "We worked on an outline of the seven episodes for The Sympathizer, so at the level of the conception I've been very active."

During the podcast, the novelist also revealed some tidbits about the trilogy's last installment, which will likely take place in 1980s Southern California: "I'm going to incorporate Korean-American history into this, and the role of the Korean army in the Vietnam War. So, I need to finish those so they can turn them hopefully into additional seasons."

The Committed, the sequel to The Sympathizer, was released on March 2.

Listen to the podcast in full here.

[Image via Collider]

Related Articles

in Film & TV

'On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous' by Ocean Vuong Is Being Adapted Into a Movie

A prominent work of contemporary Vietnamese-American fiction is being adapted for the big screen.

in Film & TV

Q&A: An Interview With 'Raya and the Last Dragon' Co-Writer Qui Nguyen

When Disney’s Raya and the Last Dragon was released in March, it was a cultural milestone for Southeast Asians. Raya is the first Southeast Asian Disney princess in the Walt Disney Company’s...

in Literature

18-Year-Old Alexandra Huynh Named US' Next National Youth Poet Laureate

The second-generation Vietnamese-American 18-year-old who considers poetry a matter of self-expression and social justice will help spread and advocate for poetry in America.

in Film & TV

Kelly Marie Tran to Lead First Disney Animated Movie Inspired by Southeast Asia

The Vietnamese American will be the first actress of Southeast Asian descent to have a leading role in a Disney animated film.

in Literature

On Reading Thi Bui's Illustrated Memoir 'The Best We Could Do' in Saigon

One of my favorite pastimes during summer holidays was reading through the textbooks for my next school year. History textbooks were the most interesting and fun to read: they were like the Harry Pott...

in Film & TV

'Canh Dong Hoang' Cinematographer Duong Tuan Ba Passes Away at 93

Most famously known for his part in making the film Canh Dong Hoang (The Abandoned Field: Free Fire Zone) in 1979, cinematographer Duong Tuan Ba died of old age at 1:50pm on June 1, 2020, at the age o...