How to Be Cast in “The Sympathizer” Type of Show

Sympathizer 1

HBO’s new miniseries from award-winning Korean director Park Chan-wook further solidifies HBO’s position as the industry leader in prestige TV. The dark comedy-drama “The Sympathizer,” which takes place during and after the Vietnam War, is based on Viet Thanh Nguyen’s Pulitzer Prize–winning 2015 book of the same name. The show stars Oscar winner Robert Downey Jr., Emmy winner Sandra Oh, and breakout Australian-Vietnamese actor Hoa Xuande.

From suggestions on how to shine in the room to how one of HBO’s top CDs approaches the audition process, this guide has everything you need to get cast on high-caliber programs like “The Sympathizer.”

What does “The Sympathizer” entail?

“The Sympathizer,” written by Park and Don McKellar, centers on Captain (Xuande), a nameless North Vietnamese mole who is enmeshed in the South Vietnamese army. He leaves Vietnam after the war and immigrates to the US, where the Viet Cong assign him to spy on the South Vietnamese refugees residing in his neighborhood in Los Angeles.

Downey Jr. portrays four men—a congressman, a grad school professor, a filmmaker, and a CIA agent—who have a significant influence on the Captain’s life. Oscar winner Sandra Oh co-stars as Sofia Mori, the Captain’s love interest, while Fred Nguyen Khan and Duy Nguyen portray Man and Bon, his childhood closest pals.

Who makes up the cast of “The Sympathizer”?

  • With Hoa Xuande at the Helm
  • As Claude, Niko, Professor Hammer, and Ned Godwin, Robert Downey Jr.
  • As the General, Toan Le
  • Sandra Oh in the role of Sofia Mori
  • As Bon, Fred Nguyen Khan
  • Man, Duy Nguyen
  • As Sonny, Alan Trong
  • As the General, Toan Le
  • Quinn Hoàng in the role of Commander
  • Madame Nguyen Cao Ky Duyen
  • Tom Dang as RTO With Skin
  • The Captain Who Cried, Tien Pham
  • Jessica Truong in the role of Mother Captain
  • Lana, played by Vy Le
  • Kieu Chinh as the Mother of the Crapulent Major
  • As the Communist Spy, Kayli Tran
  • As the Crapulent Major’s Wife, VyVy Nguyen
  • As Hefty Gunner Dao, Scott Ly
  • The Idol, Maxwell Whittington-Coop
The Sympathizer
The Sympathizer

Who is in charge of casting “The Sympathizer”?

The group was assembled by Emmy-winning CD Jennifer Venditti (“Uncut Gems”). She has been cast in Max’s “The Curse,” HBO’s “Euphoria,” and The Idol in addition to “The Sympathizer.”

The CD frequently approaches strangers on the street to obtain actors for her projects; this is a mostly instinctual method. “We search for someone with a cinematic quality when we are street scouting. She informed us that after you speak with them, there’s something they give off that would be indicative of this character. You want to look at them.

In a scenario, you see them succeed in making that happen. We don’t want someone to change who they are or become someone else. We want to highlight the qualities we perceive in them,” she said. “The image is what draws me in to them the most. Even if there are a lot of gorgeous, character-looking people, they fall short in terms of performance. We need to observe their communication style, level of self-assurance, and storytelling abilities. Until they enter the room, you can never be certain.


What is the procedure for casting “The Sympathizer”?

According to Venditti, dazzling CDs begin with the energy you project into the space. “You never know what a casting director is going to be working on next when you meet with them,” the woman remarked. Thus, the notion that you should be entirely focused on giving them what you believe they want can occasionally rule out possibilities that go beyond the purpose for which you were hired. I sincerely hope that individuals will take the time to consider what makes them special.

She thinks it’s especially crucial for novice actors to keep this in mind. She explained to us, “I just talk with them, so it’s not like they have to perform.” We’re not searching for someone to enter and change their identity by shape-shifting when we cast in that manner. You are casting in this manner in order to find a candidate who can contribute their own experience to the position. Your goal is to improve upon their current self.

We perform improv occasionally because it simply requires us to be in the moment and respond appropriately. That relaxes them a little bit. We offer them lines if they feel at ease with everything. I occasionally put them in touch with an acting coach. Because you don’t want to teach out the parts of them that are so raw and wonderful, I don’t like to do it too much. Someone shouldn’t become so fixated on technique that it prevents them from being authentic. There is a thin line.

Where are auditions and casting calls for films like “The Sympathizer” held?

Backstage was used by the miniseries to cast lead roles, recurring roles, and extras. Check out this list of current casting gigs if you’re interested in joining the ensemble of a project comparable to this one. Additionally, you should bookmark our often updated list of HBO casting calls and refer to our instructions on how to attend a network audition.

Read Also: How to Apply for Casting in The CW’s “Lovers and Liars” 2024

Which are the best ways to get a part on “The Sympathizer” through auditions?

Love the person you are. Venditti emphasizes that pretending to be someone they’re not usually successful for actors. “Be the most vibrant, real, and sincere version of yourself. I find the most attractive people are those that, upon entering the room, I can see just fully embrace who they are; they don’t try to be someone they believe I want them to be, and they don’t apologize.

Nothing is worse than someone who is in a desperate attempt to fulfill my expectations of them. If they are completely true to themselves, they might be a good fit for another role even if they aren’t who I want for that particular one. I can’t hold them accountable for anything when they’re acting someone they’re not.

Find areas where you and your character are similar. According to Hoa, who has co-starred in TV shows including SBS’s “Hungry Ghosts,” Paramount+’s “Last King of the Cross,” and Netflix’s live-action “Cowboy Bebop,” acting is all about putting oneself in the character.

“I always look for the parallels [between myself and] a character, and then I look for the differences,” he said to the Curb. “After that, I make an effort to walk in the character’s shoes and draw parallels between ourselves. Additionally, I’ve learned about the disparities along the route. And in that sense, that’s how you give a character authenticity and truth.”

Make a decision on your career goals. Oh advises actors to have a clear understanding of their motivation for pursuing a career in acting, having worked in the industry for many years. She advised us to “know your intention in this business and industry.” “What advice would you give young actors?” was a question that people would frequently ask me. I gave the same response for a very long time, until my closest friend pointed out that it was a little harsh. Perhaps you ought to adjust that.

“It was: ‘Don’t do this if you don’t have to; it’s difficult. It’s quite challenging. But if you must, that’s the perfect kind of motivation you need to be a true artist. It’s a little softer now: “It can be a real guiding force if you know why you’re doing it or if you’re just a little more in touch with your intention.”

About the Author

mudasar Rafique
Mudassar Rafique, a seasoned journalist with 10 years of experience, excels in uncovering and delivering news with a keen eye for detail. Renowned for insightful analyses and a commitment to journalistic integrity, he contributes to reputable publications. Passionate about staying informed, Mudassar views his role as a professional and personal mission to engage global audiences.

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