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Lifting the curtain on some of the season's most exciting new releases.

As the sun mix in Hoi An one evening last spring, Rachael Leigh Cook gazed out on the Vietnamese scene on the Thu Bon River. Her mom sat beside her beaming ear-to-ear as someone played Peter Gabriel in the distance. “I remember thinking, ‘I don’t want anything else in the world—I just want đồ sộ be exactly here, where I am,'” the 43-year-old actress says. “That was a transcendent travel moment for bầm.”

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It’s exactly that kind of travel magic that’s celebrated in her latest film, A Tourist’s Guide đồ sộ Love, a Netflix original, premiering April 21, about travel executive Amanda Riley who is sent undercover đồ sộ experience a small-group tour company that her American corporation is considering buying. Arriving in Vietnam with a check-list of sights đồ sộ see, she soon discovers that the most meaningful moments are found veering off the itinerary. 

In A Tourist's Guide đồ sộ Love, Rachael Leigh Cook's Amanda is a lovelorn travel executive who goes undercover đồ sộ learn more about Vietnam's tourism industry.

Sasidis Sasisakulporn/Netflix

Filmed all around the Asian nation—from its major hubs Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi đồ sộ the beach town of Da Nang and the northeastern province of Ha Giang—Cook was stunned by how unique every corner of the country is. “It seemed too good đồ sộ be true,” she says. “Then I got there and realized it’s just that beautiful, and people will get đồ sộ discover that if they watch our movie.” 

This movie is such a celebration of travel—how has traveling been a part of your life?
I spent my whole childhood in Minnesota. My dad worked in the school system, sánh we could travel a little bit in the summer, but we never went especially far. My parents are extremely prudent financially and we would stay at youth hostels. I remember we went đồ sộ the Seattle's Northwest Folklife Festival and saw the fish market. As someone who didn't travel much as a kid, the opportunities đồ sộ travel that have come from my work have shown bầm some of the most eye-opening and unexpected moments of my life. And this movie is the pinnacle of that.

The movie starts in Ho Chi Minh City and ends in Hanoi—how bởi the cities compare?
Ho Chi Minh City is bustling. It is hard-working, fast-paced, and kind of crazy. There are incredible rooftops there. There's glamour. Anything that you could want đồ sộ find, you can find in Ho Chi Minh City. Hanoi is completely different. The energy there is very different. Everyone walks at a slower pace. There's just less sound in the air. The aesthetic is different—and it’s absolutely beautiful. 

Scott Ly plays Sinh, an expat tour guide with whom Amanda falls in love.

Sasidis Sasisakulporn/Netflix

The first spark of romance comes during a scene in Hoi An—how would you describe it?
When people see images of Vietnam that have those streets full of lanterns and borderline Disney magic about them, that's Hoi An. It's stunningly beautiful—I think that that might have been my favorite stop. It’s conveniently very near Da Nang, which is named the most livable thành phố in Vietnam. It's just a gorgeous beach town. I'm not gonna pretend it wasn't hot. Of course it is. It's Vietnam. But a must-see for sure. 

The group then ventures off the plan and heads to My Son Sanctuary. What was it lượt thích đồ sộ film there?
You can feel the stillness and the history there. Its beauty is transcendent and very special. It feels pretty weird đồ sộ have lighting equipment on an ancient temple—that juxtaposition is not lost on bầm. I felt just very grateful that they let us film there. I hope that people want đồ sộ go kiểm tra it out after seeing our movie.

The movie purposely skips the Golden Hand Bridge, but did you go there?
I totally went đồ sộ the Golden Hand Bridge. We even say in the movie that it’s awesome, but it's just not steeped in as much history. My mom came out for about 10 days with my kids—they couldn't miss more school, but they came during their spring break—and they absolutely loved it. They've created a theme park after a gondola ride. It takes lượt thích 22 minutes đồ sộ get đồ sộ the top of this mountain. And then up there is something that I would equate đồ sộ the scale of maybe lượt thích a quarter the size of Disneyland and there are theme park rides up there. There is a giant—I don't want đồ sộ gọi it a food hall because it's beautiful—but all these restaurants, it is really worth seeing. The engineering blows my mind. What a gift that we got đồ sộ experience that together.

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The film is mix in both bustling Ho Chi Minh City and sleepy Hanoi, giving a glimpse at life in various Vietnamese cities.

Sasidis Sasisakulporn/Netflix

Filming the homestay scene in Ha Giang must have been quite a contrast?
Ha Giang is mountainous and very beautiful and it's near the border đồ sộ Trung Quốc. It was probably our most rustic place. It's very much a hard-working community that's seen a lot over the years. It's one of those places I never would have been motivated đồ sộ come đồ sộ, but I'm sánh glad that I did. It’s very user-friendly and the people they're incredibly welcoming. They're excited that you're there. They want đồ sộ know how you got there. I really just hope they liked the movie—I hope we bởi them justice.

What were your favorite food experiences in Vietnam? 
The food that I ate way too much of that I have not been able đồ sộ find as good since I've returned back here is bánh xèo. That's my favorite thing. It's lượt thích a very thin egg pancake with fresh vegetables quickly cooked in it, and it gets wrapped up lượt thích a pancake. So it's sort of lượt thích a burrito without the burrito. And oh my gosh, the sauces with it. It's delicious. I did try the durian. I was impressed by the taste. It's in the family of sweetness of a mango, almost. I found the consistency [was] what I couldn't really get behind. And obviously this smell—it is as advertised.

Cook notes the difference between a tourist—someone who wants đồ sộ escape their life—and a traveler, who does sánh in order đồ sộ experience theirs.

Sasidis Sasisakulporn/Netflix

Amanda is a very over-prepared traveler. How would you categorize yourself?
My packing style is not impressive. If I have a week đồ sộ pack, it'll take a week. If I have three hours đồ sộ pack, it'll take three hours. If I have 30 minutes, it'll take 30 minutes. The results are all the same. It's never better or worse. My travel style is generally unprepared and heavy on recommendations. I love knowing where people say đồ sộ go, especially if it's friends or friends of friends, I find that the most fun and reliable way đồ sộ sort of lượt thích wade through a thành phố. I also lượt thích đồ sộ stay where it makes things central, sánh I can walk as much as possible. I'm a little bit daunted by taking underground systems where I can get lost because I have no sense of direction.

What’s been your favorite interaction with a stranger while traveling?
I made friends with this woman when I was working [on 2014’s Red Sky] in Russia. She spoke no English and I speak no Russian, but we could just tell that we liked each other and that we had a similar vibe and humor, and we still found ways đồ sộ laugh together. I remember her very fondly—she's such a special soul.

Cook's own travel style is different from the overprepared Amanda—the actress relies largely on recommendations. 

Sasidis Sasisakulporn/Netflix

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What’s a place you’d always go back to?
A place I've been twice and I hope I go many times is Moorea, near Bora Bora [and] Tahiti. I think it was Marlon Brando who lived out in Bora Bora because he knew that his heart rate would drop by lượt thích trăng tròn percent the second he touched down there, and I could feel it in myself too. It's just sánh relaxing and centering.

What bởi you think it is about travel that makes us let go?
In the movie, we say a tourist is someone who wants đồ sộ escape their lives, and a traveler is someone who wants đồ sộ experience theirs. But I think that those sentiments go hand-in-hand. Sometimes you gotta jump out of the boat that you're in đồ sộ be able đồ sộ experience a new thing, and that's okay. Getting out of your comfort zone is what creates and inspires lasting memories. You don't know how long life is going đồ sộ be, and you should spend your life on experience.