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Finally, an action blockbuster for the small screen: Netflix’s ‘6 Underground’ brings director Michael Bay and Ryan Reynolds together

Dec 03,2019
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From left, actors Ryan Reynolds, Adria Arjona and Melanie Laurent, producer Ian Bryce and director Michael Bay speak at a press conference for the upcoming Netflix film “6 Underground” held at the Four Seasons Hotel in central Seoul on Monday. [YONHAP]

There may be many action-packed films that send audiences into adventurous worlds, but the cast of the Netflix-produced film “6 Underground” says that its film offers an authenticity in its action scenes that audiences have been missing for quite some time.

“I’ve been lucky enough to work in this business for over 25 years now, and I don’t think I’ve ever worked on a movie of this scale and scope,” actor Ryan Reynolds said at a press conference held on Monday in Seoul. “And just the fact that we’re bringing this to Netflix is a real sign of how the times are changing.

“I’ve always been a fan of the analog type of visual effects, as opposed to computer-generated visual effects,” Reynolds continued. “I love that so much of what you see in this movie actually happens. So much of what we see in this movie are stunts that are being performed by incredibly talented stuntpeople, who are some of the most overlooked crew members in this entire industry - some of the feats that they pulled off are just truly, I feel like, some of the most remarkable things that audiences are ever going to see.”

The film centers around six individuals with very specific skills, with “One” (played by Reynolds) being the leader, who have become “ghosts,” getting rid of their digital footprints to escape their former lives and seek out personal redemptions without being chained by conventional laws and rules of society.

All of this is made possible, of course, due to the billionaire “One,” who has more than enough money to help six people completely wipe themselves off the planet and get them all the necessary equipment for their missions. Although each is gifted with different skills, when they come together, the six underdogs fit perfectly like pieces of a puzzle to “make the world just a little bit better of a place,” according to director Michael Bay, best known for the “Transformers” series (2007-2017). The film is the director’s latest film since “Transformers: The Last Knight” was released in theaters in 2017.

However, after working on films for the big screen for more than two decades, this is Bay’s first time to make a movie for the streaming service, where a global audience will be able to enjoy the film through smaller screens rather than what the director is used to creating for.

“I come from the big cinema and appreciate the movie screen, but our whole business has changed in the past three to four years and we have to get used to a new world,” Bay said. “People want to consume things in a different way - the moviegoing experience, in some way, is sort of dying, which is sad, [but] Netflix was interested in doing new [intellectual property], not a sequel, so I’m appreciative that they wanted to do this with this cast.”

When asked to pick the highlight of directing the film, Bay said that getting permission from Florence, Italy, to shoot all of the action scenes in the ancient city was particularly special to him.

“[The highlight was] first convincing the city of Florence to allow us to do any of this,” Bay said. “They’ve never done this in 1,200 years, so that was the real highlight - working in those very tight streets without harming anything.”

“The car scene [shown in the film’s trailer], for me, was the most challenging,” actor Adria Arjona answered. “Because you’re stuck in the car [and] you still have to play the scene and act [simultaneously] and you have Michael operating a camera and giving directions - it was both chaotic and frantic, but it was a really cool and fun experience. I’ve actually never had a director operate a camera and direct at the same time.”

Reynolds, on the other hand, said that his hand-to-hand combat scenes were the hardest to do while making the film.

“After I turned 40, falling on cement wasn’t hilarious anymore, so that was probably the hardest part,” he confided. “Mostly I love performing and being part of it. [I was also] learning from it - watching the incredible stuntpeople. [Actually] I wouldn’t say it was challenging - it was mostly exciting.”

“I think that audiences right now watch lots of action movies with superheroes,” said Melanie Laurent, who also plays one of the six ghosts, as she spoke about what made the film special apart from its jaw-dropping action sequences. “But [this] was a movie about super-great human beings but without [their] super powers, and I think the movie works because everybody brings something, their emotions - that’s what I think is the most beautiful thing about the movie, apart from its action [and] apart from its craziness.”

The film premieres worldwide on Netflix on Dec. 13.

BY LEE JAE-LIM [lee.jaelim@joongang.co.kr]