The Sympathizer Trailer: Robert Downey Jr. Plays Multiple Characters In The New HBO Series

You like one Robert Downey, Jr., yes, but what about several of them? That seems to have been the pitch behind "The Sympathizer," HBO Max's — sorry, make that Max now, per Warner Bros. Discovery's new rebranding effort — new limited series from acclaimed South Korean filmmaker Park Chan-wook. The explosive story is based on author Viet Thanh Nguyen's Pulitzer Prize-winning book of the same name and is led by "Cowboy Bepop" star Hoa Xuande as a North Vietnamese spy hiding in plain sight in the United States. Set during the waning days of the Vietnam War, the politically charged thriller promises to retain all the potency of the original novel. Oh, and Downey, Jr. shows up to portray several different characters in wildly different getups, representing various elements of U.S. bureaucracy.

As part of a special presentation earlier today, Warner Bros. Discovery unveiled the new trailer for "The Sympathizer" for all to see. After years of Downey, Jr. cashing paychecks in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it's downright refreshing to see the movie star take on much more challenging projects between Christopher Nolan's "Oppenheimer" and now this. Believe us, this trailer needs to be seen to be believed — and not just for the master of disguise of it all. You can check it out below!

Watch The Sympathizer trailer

"The Sympathizer" comes from co-showrunners Park Chan-wook and Don McKellar, led by Hoa Xuande and Robert Downey, Jr. and also starring Fred Nguyen Khan, Toan Le, Ky Duyen, and Sandra Oh. Park Chan-wook will also direct episodes 1 through 3 of the deeply provocative political thriller and spy series, along with Fernando Meirelles for episode 4 and Marc Munden for episodes 5 through 7. Writers on the series include Mark Richard, Naomi Iizuka, Maegan Houang, Anchuli Felicia King, and Tea Ho, with HBO, A24, and Rhombus Media all teaming up to co-produce this project.

Robert Downey, Jr. is also set to executive produce along with his wife Susan, as will author Viet Thanh Nguyen, suggesting a strong degree of creative influence on this adaptation of his original work. The gimmick involving Downey, Jr. suiting up as multiple characters — one a Congressman, another a CIA operative, and another a movie director, among many others — is sure to receive the bulk of the headlines (as it does here, because it's wild!), but the strongest aspect of the trailer comes from the fact that the entire series looks massively entertaining even outside of that.

"The Sympathizer" will debut on Max sometime in 2024.

Based on Viet Thanh Nguyen's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel of the same name, "The Sympathizer" is an espionage thriller and cross-culture satire about the struggles of a half-French, half-Vietnamese communist spy during the final days of the Vietnam War and his resulting exile in the United States.