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HBO Adaptation of 'The Sympathizer' Casts Kiều Chinh, MC Kỳ Duyên, Sandra Oh

Hollywood stars Sandra Oh and Robert Downey Jr. are joined by a number of diasporic Vietnamese actors for the anticipated HBO adaptation of Viet Thanh Nguyen's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Sympathizer.

With filming underway in Los Angeles and Thailand, more details are emerging about the A24 Films production based on the satirical novel published to wide acclaim in 2015. Park Chan-wook, the auteur behind the success of The Handmaiden and Oldboy was announced as director and co-showrunner in the spring of last year shortly after Viet Thanh Nguyen shared news of the project via his Twitter. 

Australian actor Hoa Xuande, best known for his role in the 2021 Netflix live-action Cowboy Bebop will play the series lead, a half-French, half-Vietnamese double-agent during the war with America and subsequent exile in the US. His best friend, Bon, will be played by Fred Nguyen Khan and Toan Le will take on the role of his boss, The General. Alan Trong, fresh of a role in The Tomorrow War will appear along with the Vietnamese American host of renowned variety show Paris by Night, Nguyễn Cao Kỳ Duyên and actress Kiều Chinh. The series lineup is the result of a casting call that looked for talent in North America, Europe, Australia and Vietnam. 

Golden Globe-winner Sandra Oh will play Ms. Sofia Mori while Robert Downey Jr. will play numerous roles representing different aspects of the American establishment in addition to co-producing the show.

Stradling the line between arthouse aesthetics and mainstream appeal, A24 Films is best known for Oscar-winning movies Minari (2020) and Moonlight (2016) as well as an announced adaptation of Ocean Vuong's debut novel On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous. No release date has been set for the television adaptation of The Sympathizer.

[Top images via Nhạc Xưa, Tuổi Trẻ & Xã Hội and Vulture]

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