Those still waiting for Park Chan-wook‘s cinematic follow up to his last film, the acclaimed The Handmaiden, will have to go on waiting. But those who enjoyed his last project, a series adaptation of the 1983 John le Carré novel The Little Drummer Girl, will be happy, as the director is once again adapting an acclaimed novel into a series.
The Oldboy director will adapt Viet Thanh Nguyen‘s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Sympathizer for A24 and Rhombus Media. It follows an anonymous narrator, a North Vietnamese mole in the South Vietnamese army, who stays embedded in a South Vietnamese community in exile in the United States.
While there, he becomes a cultural advisor on the filming of an American film which closely resembles Platoon and Apocalypse Now, before returning to Vietnam as part of a guerrilla raid against the communists.
Nguyen said that Oldboy was a “big influence” on the book, so this is bringing it full circle in a way. He also added “I hope Park Chan-wook, who did wonders with the octopus in Oldboy, will be equally imaginative with the squid in The Sympathizer“. You may have to read the novel, or wait for this adaptation, to know what exactly he’s referring to.
Park and A24 collaborating was bound to happen at some point. The studio has always been drawn to projects helmed by auteurs, so it’s little surprise they’re involved here.
As mentioned, Park’s last project was also a series, The Little Drummer Girl. That first aired on BBC One in 2018 and starred Michael Shannon, Florence Pugh, and Alexander Skarsgård. Park is also an executive producer on TNT’s Snowpiercer, a series adaptation of his own 2013 film.
He does currently have another film in the works titled Decision to Leave, which revolves around a police officer investigating the mountain murder of a man.
Park has an incredibly good track record of projects, so expectations for The Sympathizer will be high. Nguyen just released a sequel to the book last month, The Committed, so if the adaptation of The Sympathizer is a success, expect people to talk about adapting the follow-up too.