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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 20 November 2018

'6 Underground': Netflix film starring Ryan Reynolds to begin UAE shoot this weekend 

Keep an eye out for Ryan in the UAE: the big-budget action film will shoot across the Emirates from November 9, with scenes filmed in Abu Dhabi, Liwa, Al Hamra, Sharjah and Al Ain

The film, which starts shooting in Abu Dhabi this weekend, is touted for an as-yet-unspecified late 2019 release on Netflix, and is believed to be intended as the first in an ongoing franchise of films featuring the six heroes of the title, of whom it is believed Reynolds will be known as “One.” Photo / AFP 
The film, which starts shooting in Abu Dhabi this weekend, is touted for an as-yet-unspecified late 2019 release on Netflix, and is believed to be intended as the first in an ongoing franchise of films featuring the six heroes of the title, of whom it is believed Reynolds will be known as “One.” Photo / AFP 

Netflix has confirmed that shooting on the long-awaited action film 6 Underground – starring Ryan Reynolds – will start in Abu Dhabi tomorrow, as revealed by The National in August.

The movie, directed by Michael Bay and with a reported budget of about $150 million (Dh550.8m), will be the first collaboration between streaming giant Netflix and Skydance Media.

The Abu Dhabi segment of principal photography is expected to last until early December, meaning there will be around a month-long shoot in the UAE.

Netflix revealed that shooting won’t be restricted to Abu Dhabi City, with other locations including Al Ain, perennial Hollywood favourite Liwa – where both Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Deliver Us From Evil have previously filmed – and even an out-of-emirate trip to Sharjah among the other locations: “The film is a fun, edgy thriller set against the picturesque backdrop of Italy and the spectacular vistas and natural wonders found throughout the United Arab Emirates,” Netflix said.

“From modern, state-of-the-art architecture to some of the oldest neighbourhoods, the film will capture the beauty of the country’s pristine beaches, tranquil desert landscapes and venerable historic sites, with scenes shot in Abu Dhabi, Liwa, Al Hamra, Sharjah and Al Ain.”

The film features a host of other Hollywood stars, including Dave Franco, Melanie Laurent, Corey Hawkins, Adria Arjona, Manuel Garcia-Rulfo, Ben Hardy, Payman Maadi and Lior Raz, star of the Israeli Netflix hit Fauda. Casting calls have also been issued for a multinational bevy of local talent to fill in supporting roles in the movie.

Netflix’s successes include must-see series such as The Crown and Making a Murderer as well as award-winning films Beasts of No Nation and Okja. Skydance is an action film behemoth behind such blockbusters as the Mission Impossible franchise and Geostorm. The movie also marks the first Netflix collaboration for Bay and Reynolds, and the cast and crew have already shot extensive stunt scenes in Florence, Italy. Transformers director Bay’s own outfit, Bay Films, is a co-producer on the film.

Details of the plot are being kept under wraps, although rumours from close to the set suggest it will follow the adventures of six billionaires who fake their own deaths to form an elite crime-fighting team. That would certainly fit Bay’s profile – as well as the Transformers franchise, the director has headed up big-budget action fare, including The Rock and Bad Boys, which was itself recently green-lit for a third installment.

Netflix told The National: “Director Michael Bay is known for fast and spectacular action. With 6 Underground, he returns to old-school action and character-driven spectacle.”

Part of Star Wars: The Force Awakens was filmed on location in the UAE, in the deep sands near Liwa, on the edge of the Empty Quarter. Film Frame/Disney/Copyright Lucasfilm 2015 via AP
Star Wars: The Force Awakens was filmed on location in the deep sands near Liwa, on the edge of the Empty Quarter. Photo / AFP

The film is being produced by Skydance’s David Ellison, Dana Goldberg and Don Granger, along with Bay and Ian Bryce, who The National understands will be running the Abu Dhabi shoot. The film will also see a return to Abu Dhabi for stunt coordinator Kenny Bates, who was last in the emirate in May to shoot the spectacular stunt sequences for the Prabhas-starrer Saaho.

6 Underground was written by Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick, who wrote the smash hit R-rated super hero comedy Deadpool, and co-wrote the film’s sequel with Reynolds, who also plays that film's titular wisecracking super hero.

The film is touted for an as-yet-unspecified late 2019 release on the streaming platform, and is believed to be intended as the first in an ongoing franchise of films featuring the six heroes of the title, of whom it is believed Reynolds will be known as “One.”

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