Who Is Toan Le? 4 Things to Know About The Sympathizer Actor

By Nathan Johnson Posted:
Toan Le from The Sympathizer

From some personal stories that he shared on the set of The Sympathizer to who impressed him the most while filming, there are a few interesting facts fans should know about actor Toan Le.

Le portrays The General in HBO's The Sympathizer

The show follows a plant that was placed in the South Vietnam army during the war. However, when he flees to America with other South Vietnam refugees, he secretly spies on them and reports back to the Viet Cong.

4 Interesting Facts About The Sympathizer's Toan Le

The Sympathizer's Toan Le

Before The Sympathizer, Toan Le Starred in Visioneers

The Sympathizer isn't the first project that Toan Le has starred in.

Le appeared in Jared Drake's 2008 film, Visioneers, where he portrayed the character of Fellow Tunt. The satirical dark comedy is about a descendant of George Washington who suffers from dreams, a symptom in that world that leads to human bodies exploding.

The actor was also cast in 2006's Bullets, Blood & a Fistful of Ca$h as Uncle Bill Nguyen, a Vietnamese mafia boss. Le's character there is intertwined with nine other criminals in a revenge tale.

Le also played in the TV film, Bigfoot, as the character Alex. The film (which even stars hard rock legend Alice Cooper) follows two musicians who try to hunt down Bigfoot.

Toan Le Plays the General in The Sympathizer

As previously mentioned, Toan Le portrays the General in The Sympathizer. The General is the former head of the South Vietnamese Secret Police who strongly opposes communism. 

The General has to flee to the United States with the Captain, who is secretly a plant. Le's character secretly seeks out traitors within a local refugee group and orders that any Viet Cong allies be killed. Meanwhile, the Captain is reporting back to the Viet Cong himself.

Toan Shared Personal Stories on The Sympathizer Set

In an interview with Script Magazine, The Sympathizer showrunner Don McKellar revealed that Toan Le shared some personal stories on set about his own experiences that he had as a child.

One particular story that McKellar relayed was when Le came over to the United States "as a kid to Fort Chafee," and how they "recreated that scene" in the show:

"It definitely made me feel that. It definitely brought me back right to that. A lot of the cast were talking about how it was closing circles in their life and Toan [Le], for instance, who plays The General, he came over as a kid to Fort Chafee where we recreated that scene, and so many of them had stories."

For reference, Fort Chafee acted as a refugee center after the Vietnam War and helped them resettle in the United States.

McKellar also talked about how the show "gave closure" and that Le offered "these sort of life arc answers to a lot of people:"

"And this show gave closure, not even closure necessarily, because it kept spinning, but he did offer these sort of life arc answers to a lot of people and I felt that way myself, partially just because I was swept along with it. And it was exhilarating for people to find that themselves. And that sort of forced me back too."

Toan Was Most Impressed by Hoa Xuande During Filming

In an interview with JoBlo, Toan Le spoke about which actor he was most impressed with when working on The Sympathizer.

Le specifically mentioned fellow co-star, Hoa Xuande. The actor revealed that Xuande delivered "the lines in two languages" and that "the result" was "just incredible:"

"I think it has to be Hoa who plays the Captain. Even though Hoa has had experience, but never in a project this big that is so demanding. Not just remembering the lines but the lines in two languages and be able to speak both eloquently. But he did it, you know, he had no time to prepare for it. Every day, just pounding it and just but the result is just incredible that he has achieved. So I have a lot of admiration for Hoa and his abilities."

In the same interview, another one of the show's actors, Ky Duyen, praised Le's work as well, saying that since Le is "nothing like the General" in real life, it proves how "incredible" his acting is:

"Yeah, I the same thing for Hoa. But since you already said all the good things about Hoa, the two actually three other people that I’m impressed with are the ones on either side of me. First of all, Toan Le because he’s so mild-mannered outside. Yet as the General, he’s like nothing like the General on the outside. So that shows me his acting ability is incredible."

New episodes of The Sympathizer are released every Sunday on HBO and on the Max streaming service.

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- In This Article: The Sympathizer
Release Date
April 14, 2024
Hoa Xuande
- About The Author: Nathan Johnson
Nathan is a writer at The Direct where he covers Star Wars, the MCU, and DC news. He joined The Direct in April 2021 and currently writes news and feature articles about all three brands mentioned above, but his main specialty is his knowledge about anything and everything Star Wars.