Acclaimed director Park Chan-wook has signed on for his next project — a television adaptation of Viet Thanh Nguyen’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel “The Sympathizer,” produced by A24 and Rhombus Media. Nguyen announced the news on Twitter today, and said that Park’s Oldboy was a “big influence” on his book, and that he couldn’t “imagine a better person to direct this TV adaptation.” He continued, “I hope Park Chan-wook, who did wonders with the octopus in Oldboy, will be equally imaginative with the squid in The Sympathizer…”
Published in 2015 as his debut novel, “The Sympathizer” follows the story of a North Vietnamese mole in the South Vietnamese army in the 1970s. He remains in a South Vietnamese community as he is exiled to the United States. He then becomes a cultural advisor on a Platoon-like film about the Vietnam War. This seems up Park’s alley, particularly due to the weird and eerie elements, like how the protagonist remains anonymous. Additionally, a collaboration between Park and A24 was bound to happen at some point, as the popular studio loves to pick up projects from great auteurs. Together, they are certain to do justice to Nguyen’s stunning and engrossing novel.
Nguyen said he will expound more on this news at a later date: “I’ll be talking to Lee Isaac Chung of Minari for the A24 podcast and will gush more about Park Chan-wook then.” Hopefully, he will also discuss the sequel to the book, “The Committed,” which was published this past March. Maybe he will mention whether or not his sequel will feature into the TV adaptation, or which network we might expect to see The Sympathizer.
We haven’t seen a new project from Park since his 2018 series Drummer Girl with Michael Shannon, Alexander Skarsgård, and Florence Pugh. He is also currently serving as an executive producer on TNT’s Snowpiercer, as he was also a producer on Bong Joon-ho‘s original feature. While his first forays in television did not land critically or commercially as well as his other movies like The Handmaiden or Oldboy, Park’s undeniable style and storytelling prowess are always enjoyable. Park also has another film in the works called Decision to Leave, about a police officer investigating the mountain murder of a man. Thankfully, it looks like the overly long Park drought will end with plenty of new projects to enjoy.
The Sympathizer does not yet have any release date attached to the project. Check out Nguyen’s announcement tweet below.