Robert Downey Jr. Plays Multiple Villains in HBO's "The Sympathizer" Teaser

HBO's new miniseries "The Sympathizer" tells the complicated story of a man known only as the Captain who's planted by North Vietnam as a spy in the South Vietnam army before the Vietnam war ends. He flees to the US after the war, where he lives as a South Korean refugee, keeping his spy activity for the Viet Cong a secret. In the first teaser for the series, shared April 12, the Captain — played by Hoa Xuande — comes face-to-face with multiple antagonists all played by Robert Downey Jr., who question him at every turn. Watch the teaser ahead.

"The Sympathizer" is a joint project between HBO and A24, and it'll air on the network in 2024. HBO shared the teaser as part of their announcement that HBO Max is becoming a new streaming service, called simply Max. The show will stream on Max when it airs next year.

"The Sympathizer" is co-showrun by visionary director Park Chan-wook and Don McKellar. It's based on the novel of the same name by Viet Thanh Nguyen. The book was Nguyen's debut novel, and he ended up winning the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. The novel has a 2021 sequel, "The Committed."

Ahead, here's what we know about "The Sympathizer" so far.

"The Sympathizer" Trailer

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"The Sympathizer" Cast

In addition to Xuande and Downey, the cast includes Fred Nguyen Khan, Toan Le, Vy Le, Alan Trong, Ky Duyen, and TV icon Sandra Oh.

"The Sympathizer" Plot

The novel "The Sympathizer" follows the Captain, a half-Vietnamese, half-French spy for Communists in Vietnam. After the war, he flees to the United States alongside members of the South Vietnam military, and he becomes enmeshed in their refugee community, while trying to still hold himself apart. He continues to spy on their activities for Vietnam. But things spiral out of control, and he even ends up consulting on a Hollywood movie about the Vietnam War (which seems based on the real-life movie "Apocalypse Now"). He struggles to balance his commitment to Communism with his new life in America.

"The Sympathizer" Release Date

"The Sympathizer" will be released on HBO and stream on Max in 2024. The series is seven episodes long.