It's been a wonder what Robert Downey Jr. would do following his departure from the Marvel Cinematic Universe. While it seemed he would be sticking to the franchise route by attempting to jumpstart a new one with Dolittle (and Sherlock Holmes 3 being in development hell). But, good news, he's returning to show his pure acting chops by starring in a new limited series run by acclaimed filmmaker Park Chan-wook, known on the big screen for films like Oldboy and The Handmaiden while on the small screen he recently did the 2018 limited series The Little Drummer Girl. Here, he will serve as co-showrunner with Don McKellar and direct the entire series. Downey, perhaps to contrast the superhero image he has created over the last decade, is set to take on something more sinister, set to play an antagonist for Chan-wook's new series The Sympathizer which has been ordered for HBO and set to be produced by the studio A24.
Based on Viet Tanh Nguyen’s 2016 Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, the story centers around a mole from North Vietnam embedded in the South Vietnamese army. However, when the mole is exiled to the United States, he remains rooted in a local South Vietnamese community and becomes an advisor to an American film about the Vietnam War. The mole eventually returns to Vietnam to fight back against the communists. Downey Jr. is, in the official statement, “set to play multiple supporting roles as the main antagonists, all of whom represent a different arm of the American establishment — including an up-and-coming Orange County Congressman, a CIA agent and a Hollywood film director, among others.” In talking to Deadline about his new project, Downey Jr. had this to say:
“Adapting Mr. Nguyen’s important and masterful work requires a visionary team. With Director Park at the helm, I expect this to be a creative producing adventure for Susan, me and Team Downey, and a stimulating process for myself in playing these complex supporting roles. A24 and HBO are the perfect combination of partners and co-parents…It’s exactly the type of challenge I’ve been craving, and I believe we will deliver an exceptional viewing experience to our audience.”
Downey Jr. is also set to executive produce alongside Susan Downey, Amanda Burrell, Niv Fichman, and Kim Ly. Stay tuned!