The Sympathizer is a new project coming to HBO on January 16th. The Sympathizer is directed by The Killing Fields director Roland Joffe and stars Academy Award-winning actor Sir Ben Kingsley. The plot centers around the Vietnam War and the American war effort in Southeast Asia, as seen through the eyes of an undercover Communist agent.
-The Theorist: The Communist agent, played by James Franco. He becomes disillusioned with his mission when he starts sympathizing with America’s war effort in Southeast Asia.
-Minh (Nguyen Ngoc Loan): The protagonist’s best friend and a fellow agent. The two have been friends since childhood in Vietnam and share an intimate bond
-Major General Nguyen Ngoc Loan: The Communist general who is the primary antagonist of The Sympathizer. His character is based on Vo Nguyen Giap, chief strategist for North Vietnamese Army during the Vietnam War
-Joanne (Lorraine Toussaint): The protagonist’s girlfriend, a nurse from New York
-Phuong: The protagonist’s cousin and the narrator of The Sympathizer. He is described as having an “old soul” contrasting his “childish exterior.” His father was revolutionary martyr Nguyen Cong Hoan
-Tran Le The: The protagonist’s childhood friend. His father was a wealthy businessman who owned many rubber plantations and was politically active in the 1940s before becoming an informant for the Diem regime.
-Tran, The Tiger: The head of the secret police for Saigon. The character is based on Tran Ngoc Quang and Colonel Bui Tin, who are both key players in the Vietnam War as well as recent Vietnamese history
The Sympathizer takes us deep into the world of The Communist Party. The narrator is an undercover Communist agent – or “sympathizer” – infiltrating Saigon’s South Vietnamese police force. The protagonist and the story are based on Nguyen Van Lem, a Vietcong double agent who worked undetected in the South Vietnamese system for eleven years. The novel opens with his arrest by two fellow police officers loyal to The Party.
The narrator tells the reader that The Party is not all-powerful but has an unyielding will and a long memory.
The Sympathizer is the gripping tale of a French-Vietnamese double agent who successfully infiltrates Saigon’s South Vietnamese police force and eventually penetrates The Communist Party. The narrator, an undercover Communist operative, is part of a vast network that links Eastern Europe to Hanoi, from Beijing to Buon Ma Thuot; the Sympathizer is a communist sleeper agent embedded in the South Vietnamese police.