DUBAI: When actors come to foreign countries to film blockbuster films, their schedules don’t usually permit them to explore as much as they may like. However, when Ryan Reynolds came to Abu Dhabi to film Netflix’s action flick “6 Underground,” he was not going to let the opportunity to discover the emirate pass him by. As a father to three with his wife, actress Blake Lively, Reynolds had the chance to introduce his young family to the rich culture of the Arab world for the first time.
“My experience was incredible. You would think that once they grow up, my kids would want to see the world and go to these places, but certainly before adulthood. That was a shot that I was excited about,” Reynolds tells Arab News. “Bringing them to Abu Dhabi and the United Arab Emirates and having them run around and immerse themselves in that culture.”
Reynolds also used the trip as a teaching opportunity for his children, eager to let them explore and learn from their own curiosity.
“I wanted to foster as many questions as they might have about why people maybe dress differently, or look differently or eat differently. It was a really nice experience not just for us but for the kids,” shared the actor.
While Reynolds and his family were sure to visit the UAE’s most famous destinations, the Canadian star was more eager to scratch beneath the surface of the country as much as he could.
“We did some of the tourist stuff, like go to the Louvre Abu Dhabi and those sorts of things, and then we would go get lost,” he reveals. “We had a tour guide who would take us to local neighborhoods and go eat in restaurants that aren’t necessarily the ones that are advertised to the tourists, which I think is much better— you get to experience the real city a little bit. We went to the desert—my kids had never seen the desert before, which was wild,” the actor added.
Ryan Reynolds shot his latest film in the UAE capital. Supplied
Reynolds’ co-star Corey Hawkins, of “2020’s Into the Heights,” was equally in awe of the hospitality that he received from the people of the UAE.
“[What I loved was] just the people and being able to experience something different. We got to go to the Grand Mosque, which was incredible. It was an incredibly eye-opening experience. [The UAE] welcomed us to come with this globe-trotting epic adventure into the country and really have fun and shoot whatever we wanted to shoot. It was great!” Hawkins stated.
Speaking to Arab News from the set of the film, director Michael Bay reveals that he was inspired by the opportunities that shooting in Abu Dhabi offered him, using the city to stand in for not only Abu Dhabi itself, but also Hong Kong, parts of Africa and another fictional nation.
“This place has great locations. It’s a new city. I’ve shot so many different places, and it’s exciting to go to a place that’s new. I’m tired of shooting in California,” Bay tells Arab News. “I’ve shot so many places I’ve run out of locations. You always like to go to a new place where you get inspired.”