Hollywood star Ryan Reynolds couldn't be more thrilled that his wife, Blake Lively, and their kids got to experience the UAE while accompanying him on a film shoot in the country.
Last year, the Canadian star spent around a month in Abu Dhabi filming for the now-streaming Netflix original thriller 6 Underground. His family joined him in the city and made sure to use up all the time they had there.
Reynolds - who recently welcomed his third child with Lively - opened up about his trip to the emirate and what it meant to have his young daughters explore the region's rich culture.
"Bringing them to Abu Dhabi and the United Arab Emirates and having them run around and immerse themselves in that culture [...] I wanted to foster as many questions as they might have about why people maybe dress differently, or look differently or eat differently. It was a really nice experience not just for us but for the kids," he said in an interview with Arab News.
The famous clan got a bit touristy visiting the Louvre Abu Dhabi and other iconic landmarks. But they were also quite eager to delve deeper into the more local side of the city.
A tour guide helped with that, taking them to small neighborhoods and introducing them to a handful of dining gems.
"We had a tour guide who would take us to local neighborhoods and go eat in restaurants that aren't necessarily the ones that are advertised to the tourists, which I think is much better— you get to experience the real city a little bit," Reynolds said.
The highlight of the city tour for the actor? A trip to the emirate's epic desert, because no visit to the UAE would be complete without one.
"We went to the desert—my kids had never seen the desert before, which was wild," he told Arab news.
6 Underground's cast and crew had a blast filming in Abu Dhabi
Reynolds and his family weren't the only ones who explored Abu Dhabi during the filming of the Netflix original. Corey Hawkins, who also starred in the film, was left amazed by the hospitality of the UAE's people during his stay in the country.
"[What I loved was] just the people and being able to experience something different. We got to go to the Grand Mosque, which was incredible. It was an incredibly eye-opening experience," Hawkins said.
The city was super welcoming to all the cast and crew taking part in the project, according to Hawkins, and they all had fun throughout the shooting schedule.
The project's director, Michael Bay, also had nothing but praise when it came to his experience filming in over 24 locations across Abu Dhabi, saying the city offers "great locations" for film shoots.
In the film, the city's impressive new buildings and landscapes allowed it to double up for California and Hong Kong.
Abu Dhabi is now a top location for film shoots
In recent years, several international filmmakers and production companies have opted to shoot parts of their films in Abu Dhabi. This comes as no surprise considering the rapid growth the emirate's film industry has witnessed in recent years.
Facilitating the process even further is the opening of media zones such as twofour54 which offers remarkable production services.
In February, Pierce Brosnan arrived in the city to start shooting his latest movie, a heist thriller titled The Misfits. The film is mostly set in the Middle East and will be directed by Renny Harlin, whose previous works include Die Hard 2.
In 2015, twofour54 landed a deal to film Director Rohit Dhawan's Bollywood film Dishoom in the city. That same year, twofour54 facilitated the production of Brad Pitt's satirical comedy War Machine, which was shot in Abu Dhabi over a period of 22 days.