|“A Tourist’s Guide to Love” is the story of a travel executive who experiences an unexpected break-up and decides to accept an assignment to go undercover and learn about the tourist industry in Vietnam. Images: Sasidis Sasisakulporn/Netflix|
Netflix has just released the first images of A Tourist’s Guide to Love – the first international film project filmed in Vietnam since the pandemic.
With the participation of an international cast including producer and star Rachael Leigh Cook, Vietnamese-American actor Scott Ly, as well as Vietnamese Meritorious Artist Le Thien and promising young actor Quinn Truc Tran, A Tourist’s Guide to Love will be released globally on April 27, 2023, only on Netflix.
With the support of Vietnam’s Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, it is the first international production to film in Vietnam since the start of the global pandemic, involving over 200 local crew members and vendors. Filming began in April with Vietnam’s rich culture and breathtaking sites taking center stage.
Cook plays Amanda, a travel executive who goes undercover on a group tour in Vietnam after an unexpected breakup throws her into a spiral. There she meets charismatic and freewheeling expat guide Sinh (Scott Ly), who shows Amanda and her fellow travelers that adventure – and love – is often found off the beaten path.
|Along the way, she finds adventure and romance with her Vietnamese expat tour guide when they decide to hijack the tour bus to explore life and love off the beaten path.|
Screenwriter Eirene Tran Donohue, who based the events in A Tourist’s Guide to Love on her own dramatic breakup on the eve of a five-week trip to Vietnam, where most of her mother’s family still lives. The heartbreaking experience changed her life.
“On my last week in Vietnam, I met a Canadian backpacker who was very much a free spirit and very adventurous,” she writes in an email to Tudum. “It made me realize that I didn’t actually want a safe predictable life. He was supposed to be my holiday fling, but we have been together ever since — 22 years.”
|The film is a melting pot of international and local cast, including Vietnamese-American actor Scott Ly, and local stars Truc Tran and Le Thien.|
In the film, Amanda travels to Vietnam just in time for Tet (Lunar New Year) celebration that falls this year starting from January 22. Weaving the holiday’s themes into the plot was a way for Donohue to highlight some of the traditions she wanted to celebrate with this film.
“Tet is a holiday that focuses on new beginnings,” she says. “Releasing the past year and stepping into a new one, opening yourself up to opportunity and setting intentions and seeking good fortune. Creating the life that you were meant to live. That is very much a central theme in the movie — plus you get to have all those beautiful party scenes!”
|With the support of Vietnam’s Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, it is the first international production to film in Vietnam since the start of the global pandemic, involving over 200 local crew members and vendors.|
|Written by Vietnamese-American Eirene Donohue and inspired by her own travels to explore her roots, and helmed by director Steven Tsuchida, “A Tourist’s Guide to Love” takes the very best of Vietnam, 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 marks an important historical moment as the first US film to be entirely shot on location there.
“There are almost no American movies set in Vietnam that aren’t about the trauma of war,” Donohue adds. “It was really important to me to tell a story about life now. One that was full of joy and love and celebration. I wanted to change the conversation about Vietnam, to highlight it as a modern thriving country whose stories are worthy of being told.”
|Meritorious Artist Le Thien.|
|Rachael Leigh Cook wears Vietnamese ao dai.|
A Tourist’s Guide to Love was filmed entirely on location in Vietnam — one of the first US films ever to do so. Through the eyes of characters in the film, audiences around the world will be treated to the charming spectacles of vibrant life in Ho Chi Minh City, the natural scenery of the central city of Da Nang, the laid-back ancient ambiance of Hoi An, and majestic landscapes in Ha Giang province.
|“A Tourist’s Guide to Love” is filmed in iconic destinations in Vietnam with popular local star Truc Tran and Meritorious Artist Le Thien joining the cast. Photo Netflix|
In the first images revealed, the beauty of the Thu Bon River, the quiet My Son Sanctuary, the bustling Ben Thanh Market, and the tranquility of a village in the countryside of Ha Giang are clearly depicted.
In addition to beautiful scenes, the film also recreates Vietnamese culture. During the New Year’s Eve party, the female lead played by Cook wore a traditional Ao Dai, while Meritorious Artist Le Thien welcomed the foreign guests in her cozy old house. They danced joyfully and filled the room with warmth and festive cheer.
“To be able to film in so many locations in Vietnam was a once-in-a-lifetime experience,” director Steven K. Tsuchida says. “The excitement of [Ho Chi Minh City] was captivating, while the traditions of Hanoi were enriching. The diversity and culture of Da Nang, Hoi An, and My Son sanctuary was breathtaking. And living and filming in Ha Giang was spiritually moving.”
“Vietnam is insanely beautiful, and the landscape is so incredibly diverse,” Cook says. That’s why I think it’s so important that we set the movie in so many different places… the topography varies so greatly and it’s such an asset to the movie and to everyone who is able to see it.”