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Amanda Burrell of Team Downey and HBO’s ‘The Sympathizer’ wants to get audiences talking

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There’s no question that Hollywood is in the midst of a slowdown.

But despite the industry upheaval, Amanda Burrell and the production company she runs, Team Downey, have never been more hungry. As president of the Venice, Calif.-based firm founded by actor Robert Downey Jr. and his wife, Susan Downey, Burrell is, by her own admission, “voracious” for new projects.

The company has had several major successes lately, with HBO’s Vietnam War-era miniseries “The Sympathizer” and Netflix’s fantasy drama “Sweet Tooth.”

Burrell is optimistic that the entertainment industry will figure out where audiences are and what they want to see.

“The reality is the audience is there and they’re voracious,” she said. “So we just have to figure out how to reach them and how to get them into it.”

What gets you excited about a project?

We often ask ourselves over here at Team Downey what marching orders should we give the industry in terms of what to bring us, and it’s actually kind of challenging because we have “Sympathizer,” we have “Sweet Tooth” and we have “Perry Mason.” We run the gamut. For us, it’s really about things that are ambitious, things that are challenging, things that we know will be thematically rigorous and get into a conversation with an audience.

And then for me personally, it’s really about the people that we engage, people that we’re talking to every day. Often, it’s just jamming with a writer on an idea that just lights me up.

You mentioned things that are ambitious, also things that are challenging. Why did you latch on to “The Sympathizer?”

We got the book from A24 with Park Chan-wook [“Decision to Leave”] attached, and I’ve been a massive fan of his.

But also, I think it was really recognizing the fact that, often in the American understanding of history, the Americans are centered. And the fact that this was centering a Vietnamese protagonist and a community, and it was really illuminating that it was just a bunch of humans trying to make decisions about their future and what they’re meant to believe and what they’re meant to do, and they’re caught in all of these forces. It felt very human, and it felt really worth examining through that cinematic lens.

Why do you think “Sweet Tooth” has resonated with viewers for three seasons?

It had this cinematic rigor to it. [Showrunner and director] Jim Mickle was ambitious, and he wanted to feel this point of view of this child and the way that children look at the world with a level of optimism and beauty and hope. It was incredible learning for me that first season. And then just finishing it … it’s so bittersweet because of the opportunity for it to be a real catharsis for an audience to complete a coming-of-age journey for this character.

What else does Team Downey have in the pipeline?

So Robert [Downey Jr.] is going to do this Lincoln Center play, which we are very excited about, “McNeal,” and we’re producing that. We have “Play Dirty” at Amazon.

With the completion of “Sweet Tooth” and “Sympathizer,” we’re really reassessing what it is that we want to be putting out there. A lot of our efforts are going to be put into the feature film space. We’ve been spending a lot of time in television, and that’s been amazing, and we still want to keep that very much alive. But with “Oppenheimer” and “Barbie” last year, I think we are seeing a real possibility in the feature space that wasn’t there previously.

Rapid-fire questions

What are you listening to right now?

I’m listening to a lot of hip-hop because my 9-year-old is obsessed with 50 Cent. And then also the “Challengers” soundtrack when I need to hype myself up. I put on that Atticus Ross, just pumping in my car when I need to prep myself for a meeting. It’s very high-octane in my car.

How do you get focused?

I tend to get focused by multitasking. I do tell my kids to breathe a lot, and I force myself to do it. But if I’m really honest, for me, I’m able to focus on one thing if I’m multitasking and juggling a lot of things.

What do you do to relax?

For me, it’s about being with my kids and listening to them talk about school. I love cooking. I love gardening. Getting into nature and hiking and being with my family. That’s the most relaxing thing to me.

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