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Tom Cruise's Mission: Impossible 4 builds Dubai set

A set for the Tom Cruise film Mission: Impossible IV is being built in a closed-off area of Dubai.

DUBAI // A set for the Hollywood film Mission: Impossible IV is being built in a closed-off area near International Media Production Zone (IMPZ).

It is the first of several so-far secret locations being prepared for the Tom Cruise movie, according to a source in the film industry.

Filming for less important scenes such as panoramic shots - called "second unit" shooting - is scheduled to begin this week. Primary shooting is set to start the following week. Cruise is expected to arrive around the start of filming, which will last about three and a half weeks.

From the star's arrival date to shooting locations, most details about the movie have been kept under wraps. It is the biggest project yet to be filmed in Dubai.

Tim Smythe, the chief executive of Filmworks, the local production company chosen by the Hollywood studio Paramount Pictures to oversee the process, declined to comment on the filming schedule or locations.

The set near IMPZ, at the intersection of Emirates Road and Al Khail Road, looks like a small, half-finished, two-storey building. It consists mainly of metal scaffolding with some portions covered by glassy panels. Event tents and storage chests stand nearby, all in an area that is fenced off and identified as the "Build Site". Unfinished developments form a faraway backdrop.

Across the road are the offices of Aries, a production company that is assisting with the film. The vast area surrounding the set, IMPZ and construction areas is marked as "private".

Other possible locations for filming are the Burj Khalifa, Meydan racecourse and major roads, which would require traffic to be diverted.

Altogether more than 400 crew members will work on the film, most of them arriving from abroad. Many of those involved have been required to sign nondisclosure agreements. Local companies are being asked to supply equipment such as tower lights, power units, temporary offices and food. A dozen residents who work in film and television are participating as observers and interns.

Another 1,000 people in the UAE will appear in the film as extras. Many of the thousands who applied online have attended casting calls, where they were asked to pose for pictures. They were to learn by today if they have been picked, several of them said.

Three additional people with acting experience will be picked for speaking roles.

Preparation for the movie began in August, according to Jamal al Sharif, the managing director of Dubai Studio City, which coordinates film production.

Last week he and Ahmed Abdullah al Shaikh, the director general of the Dubai Government Media Office, flew to Prague where the movie is currently being shot. They met Cruise; the director, Brad Bird; the media adviser, Richard Klein; other actors; crew members; and Paramount officials. They finalised their decisions on locations, facilities and other matters.

All relevant parties have signed off on the locations that will be used for filming, Mr al Shaikh said. Many government departments - including the police, transportation authority, Dubai Air Wing and customs - have been mobilised to ensure a smooth production.

"The emirate pays special attention to the film industry," he said.

Mission: Impossible IV is also being shot in Toronto and the US. The three previous instalments grossed US$1.4 billion worldwide.

Published: October 24, 2010 04:00 AM

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