Robert Downey Jr. Is Totally Unrecognizable on Set of 'The Sympathizer'

The 57-year-old actor has completely transformed for his role in the upcoming HBO series.

Robert Downey Jr. Is completely in character for his latest role. In new pics from the set of his upcoming HBO series, The Sympathizer, the 57-year-old actor is completely unrecognizable. On set, Downey wears a headpiece that gives him curly red hair, with a barely-there hairline. In addition, the actor wears a pair of blue pants, a pink shirt, with a visible white T-shirt underneath. 

For the series, which is based on the book of the same name by Viet Thanh Nguyen, Downey will play a variety of different roles.

The Sympathizer is described as an espionage thriller and cross-culture satire about the struggles of a half-French, half-Vietnamese communist spy during the final days of the Vietnam War and his resulting exile in the United States.


In addition to Downey, Sandra Oh, Kieu Chinh, Nguyen Cao Ky Duyen, Hoa Xuande, Alan Trong and Fred Nguyen Khan have been tapped for the series. The Sympathizer will be shot in both Los Angeles and Thailand.  

Ahead of taking on the role, Downey enlisted the help of his two younger children to shave his head. In a video shared in October on his Instagram, the Iron Man star asked his sons to stop carving pumpkins and assist him with cutting his hair. 

"The things we do for our work… and our kids. #Sympathizer set ready," he captioned the video. 

Before taking the clippers to their dad’s head, the boys brief him on the show, in which according to his son, "You’re playing like five roles or something." At the end of the clip, the boys decide to have a little fun by transforming their father’s head completely into a pumpkin.  

While it’s unclear if all of his dark tresses will make a return, off-set, Downey has been showing off a little fuzz at the top of his head and his impressive hat collection.  

So far, no official release date for The Sympathizer has been announced.