Dec 08,2011 - 10:35 PM
By Rania Habib
It was an electric opening night at the 8th Dubai International Film Festival last night, as Tom Cruise joined His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President, Prime Minister, and Ruler of Dubai, on the red carpet to the delight of thousands of fans.
Cruise made a beeline for the fans who had been waiting for hours along the carpet at the Madinat Jumeirah. To an ecstatic reception, the star took the time to meet and mingle with his numerous fans, who were also treated to a parade of stars from all over the world.
Earlier in the day, the cast of Mission:Impossible Ghost Protocol appeared at the top of the Burj Khalifa to meet local and international press, and have a casual chat about their experiences filming the movie in Dubai.
Tom Cruise scaled the tallest building in the world, during the 23-day Dubai shoot for ‘Mission:Impossible Ghost Protocol’. We were rather hoping to see him arrive, swinging in through a window, but in the event, the Hollywood star made a rather more conventional entrance, along with ‘Mission:Impossible Ghost Protocol’ director Brad Bird, Executive producer Bryan Burk and co-stars, Simon Pegg, Anil Kapoor and Paula Patton, to meet local and international press ahead of last night’s DIFF Gala screening of the film.
The ‘Mission:Impossible’ gang was in light-hearted mood, looking genuinely happy to be in Dubai. There was a lot of talk about Cruise’s impressive stunts, and the actor spoke fondly of the city. ‘It’s beautiful - I remember when the city was being built,’ he said. ‘The fun of doing movies like this is that I get to fulfil the dream of travelling the world and having adventures in different locations. I was very excited to have the opportunity to film in this very cinematic city. When you’re making a film you really need the help of the community to accomplish what you want to accomplish, and a part of the ‘Mission Impossible’ movies is celebrating the shooting location.’
British actor Simon Pegg was in a jolly mood, recalling his time in Dubai last October for the shoot. ‘I was here for four week, and did two days of shooting. So I went indoor skydiving, go-karting and shopping,’ he said. ‘One of my most memorable times was when Tom was doing the stunt and I came up to watch him; it was one of the few times in my adult life that I thought “thank God that I’m not Tom Cruise”.’
Anil Kapoor, a regular visitor to Dubai over the past two decades spoke highly of his co-stars, and of seeing the final result of months of shooting. ‘The greatest moment for me was when I saw Dubai on screen, I was taken aback,’ he said. ‘I’ve never seen Dubai looking so phenomenal!’
Director Brad Bird told the story of seeing tourists reacting to Cruise’s stunts as they took a tour on the Burj Khalifa observation deck, and says he still can’t believe they got the incredible shots. ‘I was at the hotel one night after that shoot, and at 3:00 in the morning I suddenly went oh my God, our star is swinging from a building, what the hell are we doing? Knock on wood, nothing went wrong. But I still wake up in a cold sweat sometimes!’