From left to right: Le Thien, Scott Ly, Rachael Leigh Cook, Quinn Truc Tran and screenwriter Eirene Tran Donohue. — Photo courtesy of Netflix

Marking Netflix’s first-ever talent stop in Việt Nam, lead actress and co-producer Rachael Leigh Cook, actor Scott Ly, and Vietnamese-Irish screenwriter Eirene Tran Donohue shared a momentous reunion with veteran Meritorious Artist Lê Thiện and rising star Quinn Trúc Trần at a press conference, speaking to Vietnamese media about their filmmaking experience and what audiences can expect from the first production to set foot in Việt Nam since the pandemic and filmed almost entirely in the country.

At the event, Rachael Leigh Cook discussed her role in the film as both a producer and lead actress. “This is the first time I’m working on a project in Việt Nam. We received so much support from the government, creative partners, and the people here and the access that we have to produce this film. I can remember every single day, every single scene and filming location. Each place is so different, it’s such a memorable moment.”

Lead actor Scott Ly reminisced about his return to Việt Nam for A Tourist’s Guide To Love, sharing that “there are many things that pop up in my head that I can see and feel when I read the script about my roots, that I loved since childhood. I am so grateful to come back to the motherland and to work with people in Việt Nam on something that is off the beaten path.”

Playing a compassionate and humorous grandmother who welcomes travellers of different backgrounds and cultures to her home, Meritorious Artist Lê Thiện shared her fondest memory of working with a global cast and crew.

“This is an unexpected project for me. I also did not think that halfway around the world I would have another grandson like this. Participating in this project as an old artiste like me with a global film crew is like the first love of my life. I'm happy for this international collaboration with the local crew, it gives everyone a chance to learn from each other,” she said.

Scott Ly (left) and Rachael Leigh Cook (right) at a press conference in HCM City on April 20. — Photo courtesy of Netflix

Sharing her memories with the crew, rising actress Quinn Trúc Trần said: “I am so happy because I feel that everyone in the cast and crew love Việt Nam very much. They are willing to experience everything. This is a memory that makes me very emotional. When filming in Hà Giang for the Tết holiday scene, everyone had to sit on the floor for the meals. One of the actors playing a tourist is very tall and has back pain. So every time he sat down and stood, it was very painful. But he still tried very hard and was happy about that.”

Screenwriter Eirene Tran Donahue, who has familial roots in Việt Nam, shared her experience writing A Tourist’s Guide to Love and the inspiration behind it.

“My mother is Vietnamese and fell in love with my dad in Sài Gòn. I fell in love with my husband in Hà Nội. And this inspired me to write this script. For me, Việt Nam is a place of love, joy and beauty and I want to share it with the world. More than that I want people to understand that you don't have to follow a set plan in your life, you don't have to do what people expect of you, you don't have to live according to other people's rules, you are in control of your own path, your own destiny,” she said.

Before arriving in HCM City for the press conference, Donohue also hosted a writer’s discussion, inspiring close to 50 students from some of Hanoi’s most prestigious film schools.

Released on 21 April globally and exclusively on Netflix, A Tourist’s Guide To Love follows a travel executive (Rachael Leigh Cook) who after an unexpected break-up, accepts an assignment to go undercover and learn about the tourist industry in Việt Nam. Along the way, she finds adventure and romance with her Vietnamese expat tour guide (Scott Ly) when they decide to reroute the tour bus in order to explore life and love off the beaten path.

Helmed by director Steven Tsuchida, the film takes the very best of Việt Nam, and in producer and star Rachael Leigh Cook’s words, “presents a compelling love letter to Vietnam in all its glory, with heart and humour.”

A Tourist's Guide to Love is filmed in five iconic destinations in Việt Nam, showcasing the country’s beautiful locales to global audiences, who will be treated to the charming spectacles of vibrant life in HCM City, the natural scenery of Đà Nẵng, the laid-back ancient ambience of Hội An, majestic landscapes in Hà Giang, and the unique beauty of Hà Nội, where past meets present. — VNS