It appears not one but two big film units have landed in the UAE to shoot for their respective projects. While Gulf News reported a day earlier that Bollywood actor Shah Rukh Khan's film ‘Pathan’ was being shot in Downtown Dubai, it now appears Tom Cruise has arrived on these shores once again to bring yet another instalment of ‘Mission: Impossible’.
While Cruise’s trip has been hush-hush, there have been sightings of the actor in the UAE capital, with the director of the film, Christopher McQuarrie, also posting a series of images from what appears to be Abu Dhabi’s Rub Al Khali or The Empty Quarter, along with the city skyline shrouded in fog.
McQuarrie, who is spearheading ‘MI7’, posted a series of images on his official Instagram account, starting a week ago. Aside from the Abu Dhabi skyline, McQuarrie posted an image of a sunset over the desert sands, along with black and white images of masked riders atop horses and camels. Another image shows a half-submerged depilated building in the desert.
A final image posted by McQuarrie shows a hooded, masked person in the desert, which people on social media are speculating is Cruise himself.
Meanwhile, Swedish actress Rebecca Ferguson, who starred as Ilsa Faust, a former MI6 agent, in ‘Mission: Impossible Rogue Nation’ and is reprising her role in the new instalment, also posted images of the Abu Dhabi desert, along with a picture of her lounging by a hotel pool.
Cruise has not posted anything on his handles as yet, but there has been chatter on social media that the actor was spotted in Abu Dhabi. And if we needed further proof, Sandro Piccarozzi, the Senior Assistant Set Decorator on ‘MI7’, has posted images from Abu Dhabi, hashtagging it as the ‘MI7’ shoot’.
This is, of course, not the first time Cruise has brought the multibillion dollar franchise to the UAE shores, with the Hollywood star filming ‘Mission Impossible Fallout’ in Abu Dhabi back in 2018.
Cruise had worked with the UAE Armed Forces to film the infamous and risky HALO or high altitude, low open stunt for the film.
Back in 2011, the actor also made headlines around the world when he shot for ‘Mission: Impossible Ghost Protocol’ at Burj Khalifa. The famous stunt saw Cruise’s character, Ethan Hunt, hang off the world’s tallest building, with the stunt taking 23 days and requiring some 400 crew members.
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The ‘MI7’ shoot is the first such Hollywood project being filmed amidst the pandemic and the stress levels have been high with Cruise even caught on audio scolding staff on the set who were breaking coronavirus guidelines last month.
In the clip obtained by The Sun at the time saw Cruise screaming after reportedly seeing two crew members too close to each other in front of a computer screen. “If I see you do it again you’re [expletive] gone,” he says.
“We are the gold standard. They’re back there in Hollywood making movies right now because of us,” he is heard yelling. “Because they believe in us and what we’re doing. I’m on the phone with every [expletive] studio at night, insurance companies, producers and they’re looking at us and using us to make their movies. We are creating thousands of jobs, you [expletive]. I don’t ever want to see it again. Ever!”
Shooting for ‘Mission: Impossible 7’ has had multiple stops and starts due to the global COVID-19 pandemic. The action flick has so far filmed in Italy, the UK and Norway. In October, filming in Italy had to be put on hold after 12 crew members tested positive for COVID-19.
Shah Rukh Khan's film cruises into Dubai
Across the highway, Downtown Dubai and Business Bay have seen witnesses talk of road closures while posting videos of a film shoot that was underway on January 29. While there has been no confirmation as yet from the makers, including production house Yash Raj Films, it is being speculated that Khan's upcoming ‘Pathan’ was being shot in Dubai.
Earlier, an image of Khan was posted on social media by Emirati entrepreneur and influencer Anas Bukhash who hosts a YouTube talk show called #ABtalks. However, it was unclear whether Khan was there at the action shoot in Dubai considering he was also spotted at Mumbai airport with his daughter Suhana Khan.
Images and videos have been posted on social media depicting an action sequence being filmed on Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Boulevard.
Twitter users also posted videos taken from his home of someone atop a vehicle fighting another person. A filming crew was following on a vehicle behind.
Twitter users wondered if it was Cruise, but industry sources and onlookers later stated that the Bollywood actor's upcoming movie, ‘Pathan’, which is being produced by Yash Raj Films,, was being filmed, which also stars Deepika Padukone and John Abraham.
The shoot appeared to continue on January 31, with Vishal Anand, the visual effects supervisor, who work for Yash Raj Films’ visual effects wing yFX, also posting shoot images on his Instagram, which also indicated the DIFC tunnel was also closed temporarily for the shoot.
Gulf News has reach out to the Dubai Film and TV Commission for an update.
‘Pathan’ will be Khan’s comeback movie after the 2018 film ‘Zero’. It is expected to release in October or November.
Will Smith also in town?
While fans are desperate to catch a sight of Cruise and Khan in the UAE, another celebrity has also been spotted in Dubai, with American rapper-actor Will Smith seen outside Burj Khalifa along with wife Jada Pinkett Smith.
According to eye witness accounts, the actor was seen entering the Armani hotel. While there is no confirmation of the same, Smith is a regular in the UAE, having posted several images of his UAE adventures on his social media.
Watch this space for more updates.