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Wed 7 Dec 2011 01:10 PM

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Dubai has future as movie hub, says Cruise

Mission Impossible star says city is seeing rising interest from Hollywood directors

Dubai has future as movie hub, says Cruise
Tom Cruise with Mission Impossible co-star Paula Patton
Dubai has future as movie hub, says Cruise
Tom Cruise at the Mission Impossible press conference in Dubai on Dec 7, 2011
Dubai has future as movie hub, says Cruise
Simon Pegg, Paula Patton and Tom Cruise at the Mission Impossible press conference in Dubai on Dec 7, 2011
Dubai has future as movie hub, says Cruise
Dubai has future as movie hub, says Cruise
(Bloomberg Images)

International movie star Tom Cruise believes Dubai could attract a slew of Hollywood filmmakers and actors after the success of his most recent film Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol.

The Top Gun actor, who also produced the action flick, said he had a fantastic experience filming in Dubai and said many of his Hollywood contacts had shown interest in the city.

“Absolutely [it will attract more movies],” he said at a press conference (photos) held Wednesday on the 124 floor of the Burj Khalifa, a star attraction in the film. “I know already people have said they want to come here and shoot or make a film.

“I’ve always wanted to shoot here, back from when I was watching the city being built. Many people have asked us about travelling here and what it was like. People are very interested to come here and shoot.”

Much of the footage in the fourth installment of the Mission Impossible series, which is set to make its world premiere at the Dubai Film Festival tonight, is shot against a backdrop of Dubai.

Cruise plays intelligence agent Ethan Hunt in a plot that sees him and a small group of colleagues seek to avert a nuclear war. Their search brings them to Dubai where Hunt performs death-defying stunts hanging from the outside of the emirate’s Burj Khalifa.

[Click here to see a video of Cruise’s stunts]

The images were captured by tourists on the tower’s observation deck, who snapped the star practicing the tower climb ahead of the movie shoot.

Cruise, who is in town this week to promote the movie, along with co-stars Simon Pegg, Paula Patton and Anil Kapoor, said the stunts required a lot of preparation.

[Click here to read interviews with the stars of MI:4]

“I trained for months so I could practice the scenes at the Burj Khalifa,” he told the press conference. “The only thing I was afraid of was falling.”

Cruise’s wife Katie Holmes and his daughter Suri came to watch his stunts in person, the media heard.

Pegg told reporters: "When Tom was filming on the building, I thought; ‘Thank God I'm not Tom Cruise.’”

The Hollywood action blockbuster also featured three days of filming at Dubai’s Jumeirah Zabeel Saray on the Palm Jumeirah. The hotel was cast as the luxury Mumbai home of Indian millionaire Brij Nath, played by Bollywood superstar Anil Kapoor.

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The scenes featured hundreds of people from the UAE, who were cast as extras in the film.

Brad Bird, director of the movie, said Dubai and the Burj Khalifa had been shown in a new light in the film.

“We saw it as a place that had not really been presented that way on film. We could be the first ones to take advantage of it,” he said. “When we were first talking about the scene when Ethan climbs the building, we imagined we’d do it mostly through special effects. But in talking to the Government of Dubai, it became clear to us that we might be able to film on the real building.”

The filming included shots from helicopters as well as scenes taken from the building itself. Cameramen broke 27 windows to allow them to place equipment outside the building and shoot Cruise climbing its exterior.

“We had wires and we removed them from the film. But they were small wires and I wouldn’t have gone out there,” Bird said. “But Tom takes it very seriously and he loves the challenge of it. The only one who wasn’t relieved when we finished that sequence was Tom.”

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