Simon Pegg has starred as Scotty in the rebooted Star Trek films. Courtesy Paramount Pictures
Simon Pegg has starred as Scotty in the rebooted Star Trek films. Courtesy Paramount Pictures

Star Trek set to film in Dubai later this year?



Another major Hollywood movie is coming to shoot in the UAE this year – none other than Star Trek 3, the latest – as yet untitled – film in the rebooted, sci-fi franchise.

Although it has yet to be confirmed, and plans may change, three independent sources have told The National­ that Kirk and his crew will be beaming down towards the end of the year.

When you consider the circumstantial evidence, it's not entirely surprising. Three of the key players behind the new movie are: executive producer (and director of 2009's Star Trek and 2013's sequel Star Trek Into Darkness) J J Abrams; Simon Pegg, who stars as Scotty in the rebooted films and is co-writing the third; and William Shatner, the star of the original Star Trek TV show and films, who is widely rumoured to have a role in the new film.

Abrams last year filmed part of Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens in the Abu Dhabi desert around Qasr Al Sarab, Liwa and Tarif, and seemed so happy with the results of the scenes – set on the desert planet of Jakku – that they made up most of the footage in the new trailer unveiled over a week ago.

Pegg was seen loitering around the Abu Dhabi set of Star Wars, fuelling rumours that he has a role in the film. That has been denied. Denials are not conclusive, and Pegg is a huge Star Wars fan, but he had free access to the Pinewood set of the latest film, as reported on social media.

He has form with the desert, too. He came here as part of the cast of Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol (2011) which filmed in Dubai, and even his latest film, Kill Me Three Times, was shot largely in the Australian desert.

Is this a man that just loves sand and Star Wars? Or was he here with ulterior motives – could he have been scouting locations to provide inspiration for his Star Trek 3 script?

Finally, the ultimate Star Trek source, James T Kirk himself. William Shatner, appeared at the Middle East Film & Comic Convention in Dubai this month. Shatner admitted while he was here that he had inadvertently let slip to a journalist in the US that he was in talks to appear in a cameo role in Star Trek 3, which may or may not have resulted in the departure of director Roberto Orci from the film (it will now be directed by Justin Lin, who directed the third, fourth, fifth and sixth Fast and Furious films).

Shatner spent much of his MEFCC appearance gushing over how great it would be to film in the desert here. Coincidence?

That is, of course, all circumstantial, and we hate to regurgitate internet rumours – but there aren’t any, yet. So since we’re starting our own, we asked around the local, UK and Hollywood industries.

What we’ve learnt so far is that the shoot will begin around November. We are told that non-disclosure agreements have already been signed with major local crew, and a significant part of the movie will be filmed here.

Filming will take place in Dubai, not Abu Dhabi – which is surprising given Abrams's work on Star Wars in Abu Dhabi last year.

Most recently, a friend from the UK’s comedy circuit said that “Si [Pegg] is going to be over your way for a few weeks later this year – you should hook up”.

Dubai Film and TV Commission declined to comment.

cnewbould@thenational.ae

'Texas Chainsaw Massacre'

Rating: 1 out of 4

Running time: 81 minutes

Director: David Blue Garcia

Starring: Sarah Yarkin, Elsie Fisher, Mark Burnham

BMW M4 Competition

Engine: 3.0 twin-turbo inline six-cylinder
Transmission: eight-speed
Power: 503hp
Torque: 600Nm
Price: from Dh617,600
On sale: Now

Mercer, the investment consulting arm of US services company Marsh & McLennan, expects its wealth division to at least double its assets under management (AUM) in the Middle East as wealth in the region continues to grow despite economic headwinds, a company official said.

Mercer Wealth, which globally has $160 billion in AUM, plans to boost its AUM in the region to $2-$3bn in the next 2-3 years from the present $1bn, said Yasir AbuShaban, a Dubai-based principal with Mercer Wealth.

Within the next two to three years, we are looking at reaching $2 to $3 billion as a conservative estimate and we do see an opportunity to do so,” said Mr AbuShaban.

Mercer does not directly make investments, but allocates clients’ money they have discretion to, to professional asset managers. They also provide advice to clients.

“We have buying power. We can negotiate on their (client’s) behalf with asset managers to provide them lower fees than they otherwise would have to get on their own,” he added.

Mercer Wealth’s clients include sovereign wealth funds, family offices, and insurance companies among others.

From its office in Dubai, Mercer also looks after Africa, India and Turkey, where they also see opportunity for growth.

Wealth creation in Middle East and Africa (MEA) grew 8.5 per cent to $8.1 trillion last year from $7.5tn in 2015, higher than last year’s global average of 6 per cent and the second-highest growth in a region after Asia-Pacific which grew 9.9 per cent, according to consultancy Boston Consulting Group (BCG). In the region, where wealth grew just 1.9 per cent in 2015 compared with 2014, a pickup in oil prices has helped in wealth generation.

BCG is forecasting MEA wealth will rise to $12tn by 2021, growing at an annual average of 8 per cent.

Drivers of wealth generation in the region will be split evenly between new wealth creation and growth of performance of existing assets, according to BCG.

Another general trend in the region is clients’ looking for a comprehensive approach to investing, according to Mr AbuShaban.

“Institutional investors or some of the families are seeing a slowdown in the available capital they have to invest and in that sense they are looking at optimizing the way they manage their portfolios and making sure they are not investing haphazardly and different parts of their investment are working together,” said Mr AbuShaban.

Some clients also have a higher appetite for risk, given the low interest-rate environment that does not provide enough yield for some institutional investors. These clients are keen to invest in illiquid assets, such as private equity and infrastructure.

“What we have seen is a desire for higher returns in what has been a low-return environment specifically in various fixed income or bonds,” he said.

“In this environment, we have seen a de facto increase in the risk that clients are taking in things like illiquid investments, private equity investments, infrastructure and private debt, those kind of investments were higher illiquidity results in incrementally higher returns.”

The Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, one of the largest sovereign wealth funds, said in its 2016 report that has gradually increased its exposure in direct private equity and private credit transactions, mainly in Asian markets and especially in China and India. The authority’s private equity department focused on structured equities owing to “their defensive characteristics.”

Our family matters legal consultant

Name: Hassan Mohsen Elhais

Position: legal consultant with Al Rowaad Advocates and Legal Consultants.

Our legal consultant

Name: Dr Hassan Mohsen Elhais

Position: legal consultant with Al Rowaad Advocates and Legal Consultants.

Recent winners

2002 Giselle Khoury (Colombia)

2004 Nathalie Nasralla (France)

2005 Catherine Abboud (Oceania)

2007 Grace Bijjani  (Mexico)

2008 Carina El-Keddissi (Brazil)

2009 Sara Mansour (Brazil)

2010 Daniella Rahme (Australia)

2011 Maria Farah (Canada)

2012 Cynthia Moukarzel (Kuwait)

2013 Layla Yarak (Australia)              

2014 Lia Saad  (UAE)

2015 Cynthia Farah (Australia)

2016 Yosmely Massaad (Venezuela)

2017 Dima Safi (Ivory Coast)

2018 Rachel Younan (Australia)

'Skin'

Dir: Guy Nattiv

Starring: Jamie Bell, Danielle McDonald, Bill Camp, Vera Farmiga

Rating: 3.5/5 stars

The biog

Name: Sari Al Zubaidi

Occupation: co-founder of Cafe di Rosati

Age: 42

Marital status: single

Favourite drink: drip coffee V60

Favourite destination: Bali, Indonesia 

Favourite book: 100 Years of Solitude 

COMPANY PROFILE

Company: Eco Way
Started: December 2023
Founder: Ivan Kroshnyi
Based: Dubai, UAE
Industry: Electric vehicles
Investors: Bootstrapped with undisclosed funding. Looking to raise funds from outside

COMPANY PROFILE:

Name: Envision
Started: 2017
Founders: Karthik Mahadevan and Karthik Kannan
Based: The Netherlands
Sector: Technology/Assistive Technology
Initial investment: $1.5 million
Current number of staff: 20
Investment stage: Seed
Investors: 4impact, ABN Amro, Impact Ventures and group of angels

TV: World Cup Qualifier 2018 matches will be aired on on OSN Sports HD Cricket channel

Abaya trends

The utilitarian robe held dear by Arab women is undergoing a change that reveals it as an elegant and graceful garment available in a range of colours and fabrics, while retaining its traditional appeal.

Turning waste into fuel

Average amount of biofuel produced at DIC factory every month: Approximately 106,000 litres

Amount of biofuel produced from 1 litre of used cooking oil: 920ml (92%)

Time required for one full cycle of production from used cooking oil to biofuel: One day

Energy requirements for one cycle of production from 1,000 litres of used cooking oil:
▪ Electricity - 1.1904 units
▪ Water- 31 litres
▪ Diesel – 26.275 litres

UAE currency: the story behind the money in your pockets

Anna and the Apocalypse

Director: John McPhail

Starring: Ella Hunt, Malcolm Cumming, Mark Benton

Three stars

HOW TO WATCH

Facebook: TheNationalNews

Twitter: @thenationalnews

Instagram: @thenationalnews.com

TikTok: @thenationalnews  

Company Profile

Name: Direct Debit System
Started: Sept 2017
Based: UAE with a subsidiary in the UK
Industry: FinTech
Funding: Undisclosed
Investors: Elaine Jones
Number of employees: 8

Kill

Director: Nikhil Nagesh Bhat

Starring: Lakshya, Tanya Maniktala, Ashish Vidyarthi, Harsh Chhaya, Raghav Juyal

Rating: 4.5/5

UAE'S YOUNG GUNS

1 Esha Oza, age 26, 79 matches

2 Theertha Satish, age 20, 66 matches

3 Khushi Sharma, age 21, 65 matches

4 Kavisha Kumari, age 21, 79 matches

5 Heena Hotchandani, age 23, 16 matches

6 Rinitha Rajith, age 18, 34 matches

7 Samaira Dharnidharka, age 17, 53 matches

8 Vaishnave Mahesh, age 17, 68 matches

9 Lavanya Keny, age 17, 33 matches

10 Siya Gokhale, age 18, 33 matches

11 Indhuja Nandakumar, age 18, 46 matches

MATCH INFO

Barcelona 4 (Messi 23' pen, 45+1', 48', Busquets 85')

Celta Vigo 1 (Olaza 42')

Signs of heat stroke
  • The loss of sodium chloride in our sweat can lead to confusion and an altered mental status and slurred speech
  • Body temperature above 39°C
  • Hot, dry and red or damp skin can indicate heatstroke
  • A faster pulse than usual
  • Dizziness, nausea and headaches are also signs of overheating
  • In extreme cases, victims can lose consciousness and require immediate medical attention
Specs: 2024 McLaren Artura Spider

Engine: 3.0-litre twin-turbo V6 and electric motor
Max power: 700hp at 7,500rpm
Max torque: 720Nm at 2,250rpm
Transmission: Eight-speed dual-clutch auto
0-100km/h: 3.0sec
Top speed: 330kph
Price: From Dh1.14 million ($311,000)
On sale: Now

Roll of Honour, men’s domestic rugby season

West Asia Premiership
Champions: Dubai Tigers
Runners up: Bahrain

UAE Premiership
Champions: Jebel Ali Dragons
Runners up: Dubai Hurricanes

UAE Division 1
Champions: Dubai Sharks
Runners up: Abu Dhabi Harlequins II

UAE Division 2
Champions: Dubai Tigers III
Runners up: Dubai Sharks II

Dubai Sevens
Champions: Dubai Tigers
Runners up: Dubai Hurricanes