BlacKkKlansman actor Paul Walter Hauser, who played KKK member Ivanhoe in the film, will reunite with Spike Lee for Da 5 Bloods. Lee is coming off arguably his most acclaimed work yet in BlacKkKlansman, which netted Oscar nominations for Best Picture and Best Director and won Best Adapted Screenplay. With the provocative auteur a hot commodity once again, it didn't take Lee long to line up his next project. Last month, it was announced the director would helm Da 5 Bloods for Netflix.
Starring Black Panther's Chadwick Boseman, Da 5 Bloods follows a group of Vietnam War veterans who return to the jungle in an attempt to rediscover their lost innocence. Since word of the film first broke, the cast has rounded into shape with the likes of Jean Reno, Jonathan Majors, and Do the Right Thing star Giancarlo Esposito signing on. Now, another Lee collaborator has joined.
According to Deadline, Hauser has been cast in the role of Simon. The part is described as "a working man" who disposes old landmines in Vietnam and is taken hostage.
In his two most prominent big screen appearances (BlacKkKlansman and I, Tonya), Hauser made a name for himself playing dimwitted imbeciles that injected comic relief into the proceedings. It'll be interesting to see how his character in Da 5 Bloods pans out, though there's potential here for viewers to see another side of Hauser's range. Based on the breakdown, it sounds like Simon is a well-intentioned everyman concerned about the safety of others (see: his attempt to get rid of the landmines) and gets caught up in a perilous situation. That's not to say he won't provide some levity as well, but this could be a more dramatic turn. With plot details so scarce, at this point it's worth wondering if a key component of the narrative sees the main group of vets embark on a mission to save Simon from his captors.
Regardless of how Hauser fits into the film, Da 5 Bloods is shaping up to be yet another intriguing offering from Netflix, who's already doing business with respected auteurs like Steven Soderbergh and Martin Scorsese. In the wake of the streaming giant's Oscar wins for Roma, there's been a lot of controversy surrounding how Netflix will influence the future of the film industry, but the company's obviously doing something right if they keep attracting top-notch talent. As evidenced by Netflix footing the monumental bill for Scorsese's The Irishman, they aren't afraid to take risks and let unique voices tell the stories they want the world to hear. Hopefully Da 5 Bloods can be another winner for Netflix and maybe gain some traction on the awards circuit.