Netflix is gearing up for the release of “A Tourist’s Guide to Love,” a romantic comedy set in Vietnam that stars ’90s teen icon Rachael Leigh Cook.
Cook, who rose to fame in 1999 after starring opposite Freddie Prinze Jr. in the hit teen romantic comedy “She’s All That,” will be playing Amanda, an American travel executive who joins a group tour in Vietnam after experiencing a bad breakup. During her time abroad, she meets Sinh, a tour guide who makes her reconsider what it means to love.
Vietnamese American actor Scott Ly, who plays Sinh in the film, told Netflix earlier this year that his character is “a happy-go-lucky, very loving person who just loves life and lives in the moment. He always goes for it, kind of like me.”
Ly, whose parents immigrated to Texas from Vietnam, expressed his gratitude for the chance to “reconnect with his roots,” saying, “It was like coming home. Words can’t describe it, really.”
Eirene Tran Donohue, who penned the film’s script, told Netflix that “A Tourist’s Guide to Love” is based on the aftermath of a real-life breakup that occurred right before a five-week trip to Vietnam.
On my last week in Vietnam, I met a Canadian backpacker who was very much a free spirit and very adventurous. 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.
Netflix noted that “A Tourist’s Guide to Love,” directed by Steven K. Tsuchida (“Community,” “Dear White People”), was “filmed entirely on location in Vietnam — one of the first U.S. films ever to do so.” Donohue added:
There are almost no American movies set in Vietnam that aren’t about the trauma of war. 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.
Some film locations include Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi, Da Nang, Hội An and Hà Giang, according to Tsuchida. His movie also notably takes place around Tết, one of Vietnam’s most important holidays.
“Tết is a holiday that focuses on new beginnings,” Donohue shared. “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!”
In addition to Cook and Ly, the film features Ben Feldman, Missi Pyle, Nondumiso Tembe, Andrew Barth Feldman, Jacqueline Correa, Alexa Povah, Morgan Lynee Dudley, Glynn Sweet, Nsưt Lê Thiện and Quinn Trúc Trần.
This is not Cook’s first time starring in a Netflix film.
In 2020, she starred opposite Damon Wayans Jr. (“New Girl,” “Happy Endings”) in the romantic comedy “Love, Guaranteed.”
“A Tourist’s Guide to Love” will premiere on Netflix on April 27.