Sandra Oh Among Trio Joining HBO’s ‘The Sympathizer’

Sandra Oh is headed to HBO.

The Emmy winner, who wrapped AMC’s Killing Eve earlier this year, has joined the cast of the premium cable network’s drama series The Sympathizer. Also boarding the drama starring and exec produced by Robert Downey Jr. are Kieu Chinh and Nguyen Cao Dy Duyen. The trio will all have recurring roles.

The Sympathizer, ordered to series in July 2021, is part espionage thriller and part cross-culture satire. It revolves around the Captain, a half-French, half-Vietnamese Communist spy during the final days of the Vietnam War and his resulting exile in the U.S. 

A24 serves as the studio on the series that is based on Viet Thanh Nguyen’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel.

Hoa Xuande (Cowboy Bebop) stars as the Captain and leads a cast of fellow actors of Vietnamese descent: Fred Nguyen Khan, Toan Le, Vy Le and Alan Trong. The casting is the result of a worldwide open call and extensive search for the actors across North America, Vietnam, Europe and Australia. Downey will play several roles in The Sympathizer.

Oh will play Sofia Mori, a liberated feminist who, in the midst of a love triangle, begins to awaken to the complexity of her own Asian-American identity.

Chinh — who came to the U.S. under the sponsorship of Tippi Hedren, who helped her gain employment in Hollywood and who is best known for her appearances in M*A*S*H and Dynasty — will play the Major’s Mother. Homesick for Vietnam, she doesn’t find an easy fit with her new circumstances, in contrast to her son who has jumped in feet first.

Duyen, aka Ky Duyen, who is the youngest daughter of South Vietnam’s former Prime Minister and Vice President Nguyen Cao Ky and hosted Vietnam’s beloved variety show Paris By Night, plays Madame, the General’s wife and elegant and commanding matriarch who’s desperate to keep her daughter modest and her husband from unraveling as they restart their lives as refugees.

Park Chan-wook (Oldboy) and Don McKellar (Last Night) serve as co-showrunners on The Sympathizer, with the former also on board to direct. The series is a co-production between HBO, A24 and Rhombus Media, in association with Cinetic Media and Moho Film. Park and McKellar executive produce alongside Robert and Susan Downey and Amanda Burrell of Team Downey, A24, Kim Ly, Rhombus Media’s Niv Fichman, Ron Schmidt, author Nguyen and Moho Film’s Jisun Back. Production on the series is under way in Los Angeles and Thailand. A premiere date has yet to be determined. 

Oh is repped by UTA, Principal Entertainment and Hansen Jacobson. Chinh is with Allen Edelman Management; and Duyen is with Prestigious Powerhouse Agency.

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