Your Guidebook to Every Robert Downey Jr. Character in The Sympathizer

Your Guidebook to Every Robert Downey Jr. Character in The Sympathizer

You can find Absolutely nothing Significantly new about Robert Downey Jr. heading for it on screen. The reigning Ideal Supporting Actor Oscar winner for his change as Lewis Strauss in Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer is nonetheless likely ideal identified for his decade in addition in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but make no mistake—the person is aware of how to make possibilities.

Though Tony Stark is a quite recognizable hero at this place, Downey has also played complicated Hollywood royalty (Charlie Chaplin in Chaplin), troubled workaholics with a drinking issue (Paul Avery in Zodiac), and considerably-also-fully commited process actors (Kirk Lazarus in Tropic Thunder). But none assess to what he is done in The Sympathizer, HBO’s minimal sequence adaptation of Viet Thanh Nguyen’s Pulitzer-winning novel of the exact name.

The Sympathizer: A Novel (Pulitzer Prize for Fiction)

The Sympathizer: A Novel (Pulitzer Prize for Fiction)

The Sympathizer: A Novel (Pulitzer Prize for Fiction)

Like Peter Sellers in Dr. Strangelove or: How I Discovered to Cease Worrying and Love the Bomb and Eddie Murphy in The Nutty Professor, Downey requires on many roles in The Sympathizer. We’re initially introduced to the most significant of them, a CIA agent with wiry pink hair named Claude, in the very very first scene of the show he is a continuous presence in the existence of our protagonist, The Captain, who himself is a double agent. In fact, The Captain is a Northern Vietnamese loyalist embedded as a essential cog inside the remnants of the Southern Vietnamese routine.

As the series continues, just about each and every American The Captain comes into speak to with has anything in prevalent: they all glance just like Claude (and are performed by Robert Downey Jr.). This will come to a head at the close of the series’s 3rd episode, “Adore It or Leave It,” when The Captain follows Claude to a steakhouse evening meal. There, the pair are joined by three other men—all performed by Downey Jr.

It is a trippy whirlwind of a scene, but one that is just not just for Downey or the filmmakers to clearly show off it will come with a precise purpose.

“There’s this recurring motif in The Captain’s life—these patronizing American establishment characters who supply The Captain some thing, and present to assistance him, and then end up betraying him or getting duplicitous,” co-showrunner Don McKellar stated during a roundtable job interview that Consequence sat in on. “These extravagant archetypes of the American establishment, who all get the job done collectively, have a prevalent interest, are all associates of the same club, like we exhibit in Episode three.”

To aid you maintain keep track of of that bizarre club as The Sympathizer establishes it a lot more and more throughout the class of its run, we’ve compiled a manual to every of Downey Jr.’s unusual, normally outrageous figures. Preserve looking at to dive in.

Stream The Sympathizer here


claude the sympathizer


Clearly the most significant of Downey Jr.’s characters in The Sympathizer is Claude, who operates for the CIA and serves as The Captain’s de facto mentor. Of program, “mentor” is variety of a extend Claude operates under the belief that The Captain believes in what he claims he believes in, and is who he claims he is.

The actuality is that The Captain hates just about anything Claude claims, does, and thinks in, and sees how duplicitous he is very first hand—because Claude thinks he can seriously rely on The Captain. Via his undercover dealings, our protagonist realizes just how disposable Claude, and by proxy, the United States, sees just about everybody all around him to seriously be.

However, The Captain and Claude have a nicely-established romance, and next the evolution of it as the sequence moves by way of its 7 episodes is one of its most powerful by way of lines.

Professor Hammer

the sympathizer professor hammer


Downey Jr.’s most outrageous character in The Sympathizer (which is definitely stating anything) is Professor Hammer, an Orientalist grad school professor who speaks with an have an affect on and regularly behaves in a way which is both equally totally inappropriate and culturally exploitative. We did not require to see Professor Hammer modifying into his kimono in the aspect corridor of his business office, but we certain will not likely forget about it. On the shiny facet, nevertheless, at minimum The Captain’s interactions with Professor Hammer led him to meet his assistant, Sophia Mori (Sandra Oh), an intelligent, down-to-earth individual who he’s both of those captivated to and can converse to about (virtually) something.

Congressman “Napalm Ned” Ned Godwin

the sympathizer napalm ned


The Captain meets Ned Godwin, a congressman from California regarded for his war-hawking endeavours by the nickname of “Napalm Ned,” in “Appreciate It or Leave It,” the 3rd episode of The Sympathizer. Ned is a classic suitable-wing politician, flaunting his brash demeanor along with his veteran position (and scarred fingers) as section of an endeavor to charm to the post-war Vietnamese population of his point out.

Niko Damianos

niko damianos the sympathizer robert downey jr


Introduced for the to start with time in the course of the Steakhouse dinner at the conclude of “Like It or Leave It,” Damianos is a cocky massive-time American filmmaker about to make a film identified as The Hamlet that touches on the Vietnam war. He’s there mainly because The Captain has been advisable by the other People in america (yet again, all sharing Robert Downey Jr’s deal with.) to provide as Damianos’s specialist on the film.

As a hotshot, highly-acclaimed, sun shades-donning director helming a chaotic Vietnam war film in the ’70s, Damianos is of class centered on Francis Ford Coppola. The famous director’s time producing his very own Vietnam epic, Apocalypse Now, has been effectively-documented.

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