Back Arts & Culture » Film & TV » Park Chan-Wook to Direct TV Series Based on Viet Thanh Nguyen's 'The Sympathizer'

Viet Thanh Nguyen’s Pulitzer Prize-winning 2015 novel The Sympathizer will be getting a TV adaptation directed by Park Chan-wook, the auteur behind the success of The Handmaiden and Oldboy.

Viet announced the series adaptation back in April on his Twitter account and expressed his excitement over the involvement of Chan-wook, whose work on Oldboy was a major influence on The Sympathizer. He added: "I hope Park Chan-wook, who did wonders with the octopus in OLDBOY, will be equally imaginative with the squid in THE SYMPATHIZER."

According to Collider, A24 Films and Rhombus Media will be tasked with producing the TV adaptation. A24 is a renowned studio famous for many Oscar-winning films such as Minari (2020), Moonlight (2016), and many others. Last year, the studio unveiled that it was in the process of adapting Ocean Vuong's debut novel On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous into a feature film.

In an episode of the A24 Podcast with Minari director Issac Chung, Viet Thanh Nguyen chronicles the journey of selling the rights of The Sympathizer for a screen adaptation. As the book delves into heavy materials related to war and the experience of refugees, he was very keen to look for someone with the right vision for the adaptation.

The collaboration between A24 Films and Park Chan-wook seems well-matched to accomplish that, though when asked whether he would do the screenwriting for the TV adaptation, Viet firmly stated: “I really don't want to do that. I'm a novelist first and foremost, so I want to write novels.”

Still, he shared that he's quite involved in the production. "I've been very active in meetings and in the creative side of the TV adaptation, and with Don McKellar, the writer," Viet explains in the podcast. "We worked on an outline of the seven episodes for The Sympathizer, so at the level of the conception I've been very active."

During the podcast, the novelist also revealed some tidbits about the trilogy's last installment, which will likely take place in 1980s Southern California: "I'm going to incorporate Korean-American history into this, and the role of the Korean army in the Vietnam War. So, I need to finish those so they can turn them hopefully into additional seasons."

The Committed, the sequel to The Sympathizer, was released on March 2.

Listen to the podcast in full here.

[Image via Collider]

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