Netflix’s new action flick 6 Underground imagines a world where a tech billionaire (played by Deadpool star Ryan Reynolds) seeks to use his money to make the world a better place. This man on a mission, known as One, enlists the help of five other “specialists” to stage a coup and replace a corrupt leader with his exiled brother.
6 Underground offers fans of director Michael Bay an opportunity to soak in his special brand of non-stop action and stunts as well as experience a global escapade that is equal parts fast, fun and fantastical.
BET caught up with Reynolds and his 6 Underground co-stars Corey Hawkins (Straight Outta Compton), Adria Arjona (True Detective), Mélanie Laurent and Manuel Garcia-Rulfo (Widows) at this year’s Comic Con in São Paulo, Brazil, to discuss what they would do to infuse good into the world as well as their dream “bad guy” role.
BET: There’s a great line in this movie that goes, “We can’t save the world, but we can make it a little less sh*tty.” If you could do one thing to make the world a better place, what would that be?
Ryan Reynolds: Oh boy! You know, I guess algebra is important for kids in school, but I wish they taught empathy in school. That would change the world in a huge way, and also, like, allow people to have a little bit more compassion for themselves and other people. I don’t know, I just always think that that’s a learned behavior. You know, I have kids, and I just see how important empathy is in their lives and how it shapes people, so I would pour everything into some kind of empathy project.
Corey Hawkins: That’s such a good question! I think for me it’s more carbon footprint, and doing whatever you can in whatever small way to reverse or try to help in terms of climate change. That’s sort of where I am. You cannot save the world, you can’t do it all, but you can do your small part, and if everyone did their small part, we could slowly inch toward and make that future a little brighter.
Adria Arjona: I’m a firm believer that kids should grow up with art programs, should be involved in the arts, and should have a form of expression since they’re really young, so I would try my best to infiltrate just a bunch of art programs around the world, and not just in the United States.
Manuel Garcia-Rulfo: I would say to travel. To be in high school or something, to have at least for a month to travel so you can see that we’re all the same. It doesn’t matter the color—we all have the same needs. So I think that would make the better world, to empathize instead of having the idea that that country’s bad—bad people. Once you travel and you live there you’re like, Oh, this is the same as us.
Mélanie Laurent: I would start from scratch—I would change every president right now. Like, change everything and take real human beings who really care… more women, for sure. I would just start fresh, because I think it’s so messy and so crazy right now… just start from them and the people, and find a way for the citizens to feel closer to the leaders who are actually going to change things. It’s the only way to make it happen.
BET: In this epic Michael Bay film, you all play good guys trying to fight evil, but if you were to envision or create your dream “bad guy” role, what would that look like?
Reynolds: They always call that “the villain problem” in screenwriting, because it’s so difficult. When you have a villain, you need that villain to have a motivation that’s believable and real, and something that you could empathize with, so I don’t know. The perfect villain is someone that you love to hate. I think about the villain in the original Die Hard (Alan Rickman’s Hans Gruber)—that was the perfect villain. A villain that you really loved to hate that’s like entertaining and interesting.
Hawkins: It’s interesting you say the good guys, because I do think they are good guys, good people, but they all have these qualities about them that could easily make them not that, you know what I mean? So it was cool to sort of explore their darker sides and watch that change.
But I don’t know in terms of, like, the ideal bad guy, because I think we all have a little bit of that in us—the person who wreaks havoc. I might’ve wreaked havoc on the set of 6 Underground [laughter] being so surprised by how crazy it was to shoot this movie.
Laurent: It’s so funny, because I never play any bad guys. I can’t. Every time I’m reading a script and it’s like a super lost soul, there’s nothing you can do, I don’t see it as fun. I’m like, ugh, there’s nothing I can save, and I don’t see myself giving that character months of my life and just, like, being in her skin.
I did a lot of second world war movies, and every time I was working with an actor that was playing a Nazi I was like, how did you do that? And they always said, because of trying to understand them I’m inversing things. It’s so interesting, because most of them just inverse the thing so they don’t have to be like, I’m gonna think as a bad guy. I’m just gonna change history, and I’m the good guy.
Arjona: I think a more humanized villain and show what pure evil kind of is and what it stems from. I would love to play a villain that’s super bad-ass and super sexy.
BET: Two of the funniest scenes or moments in the film center around graphic T-shirts that are comically spotlighted. If you could create your own memorable T-shirt, what would it say?
Reynolds: Ha, ha—IT’S BRITNEY, BITCH! I love that guy [in that scene]. We just saw him on set and sort of fell in love with him, and were like, let’s put him in this scene! He was a good actor, too! He did a really good job.
Arjona: Mine would be ANYTHING FOR SELENAS.
Garcia-Rulfo: I don’t know, maybe Bob Dylan. BOB DYLAN LIVES FOREVER.