casting couch

Robert Downey Jr. to Pivot From Hero to Villain in HBO The Sympathizer Series

Photo: Kurt Krieger/Corbis via Getty Images

After closing his chapter as one of the most prominent heroes of the Marvel Cinematic Universe as Iron Man in 2019’s Avengers: Endgame, Robert Downey Jr. is giving the villain life a try. Deadline reported that the actor is joining an HBO series adaptation of Viet Thanh Nguyen’s Pulitzer-winning historical spy novel The Sympathizer, in which he’s set to star as multiple villain characters. The story will focus on an as-yet-uncast French and Vietnamese spy for North Vietnam at the end of the Vietnam War who follows a South Vietnamese community to the U.S. afterward. Downey Jr.’s roles in his first full television series will reportedly include a California politician, a CIA agent, and a movie director. The series will be an A24 production, with Don McKellar, Tony-winning playwright of The Drowsy Chaperone, serving as co-showrunner alongside The Handmaiden director Park Chan-wook, who is also set to direct the series. When news of the series, and Park’s involvement, was announced in April, Nguyen tweeted that Park’s 2003 thriller Oldboy “was a big influence” on the novel, his debut.

Robert Downey Jr. Pivoting to Villain in HBO’s Sympathizer