Robert Downey Jr. Returns to TV For First Time in 20 Years in Vietnam War Era Drama

by Anna Dunn

Robert Downey. Jr. is making a return to TV. He’ll play the antagonist in a Vietnam War Era drama called The Sympathizer. This will be Downey’s first TV role in 20 years.

The Iron Man actor is set to star in the adaptation of the 2016 Pulitzer Prize-winning novel of the same name by Viet Thanh Nguyen. This is Downey’s first TV role since Ally Mcbeal.

The Sympathizer is a satirical novel. It follows a half-Vietnamese, half-French communist spy during the last days of the war and his exile to the United States. That role has yet to be cast, but Robert Downey Jr. is set to co-star alongside that character.

The search for the leading role of the series as well as the ensemble is a worldwide venture. They’ve yet to announce other cast members and it’ll be interesting to see who they find to play the part.

According to Deadline, the novel is described as “a blistering exploration of identity and America, a gripping spy novel and a powerful story of love and friendship.”

Park Chan-wook, who directed Old Boy, and Don McKellar are the showrunners for The Sympathizer.

Robert Downey Jr. Reportedly Excited To Show Off his Acting Talents

Deadline also reported that Downey decided on this offer for a few reasons. He gets to work on a very creative project, loves the story, and thinks it’ll allow him to showcase his range. The actor made his final appearance in the marvel franchise in Avengers: Endgame and has since been looking for roles.

His range will likely shine through. Downey will play a wide variety of antagonist roles for the series. Each role represents different elements of American establishment. He’ll play a film director, politician, CIA Agent, and other roles.

“Adapting Mr. Nguyen’s important and masterful work requires a visionary team,” Robert Downey Jr. said in a statement. While book adaptations can often go quite wrong, he has faith that this one has great people working behind the scenes.

“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.”

No release date has been set yet, but more information about the project will surely be on its way soon. Downey’s last appearance as an actor was on Doolittle. He’s also been working as an executive producer for shows like Perry Manson and Sweet Tooth.

While many will miss his portrayal of the iconic Iron Man, it’ll be exciting for the actor to break into a new role (or five) and try something new.