Dubai: Ever the gentleman, Tom Cruise opened the Mission: Impossible Ghost Protocol press conference in Dubai by thanking the royal family.
The Hollywood actor refused any questions and instead opened proceedings with nothing but praise for His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai -- the city which Cruise says he had seen on a flight layover and knew he wanted to work in.
"The warmth and hospitality shown throughout shooting and the whole time we were here was a wonderful experience," said Cruise, at a press conference on Wednesday morning at the top of the building he famously dangled from -- the Burj Khalifa -- inside, of course.
"Watching the city being built, I was on a layover once – refuelling here – and every time I've been, I've wanted to film here. It's a beautiful city, a very cinematic city. The way it's set up – it's incredibly modern, an extraordinary accomplishment."
Speaking about his famous stunt on the Burj Khalifa last October during filming, he said a lot of preparation went into what appeared to be death-defying leaps.
"The first time I did it [the stunt] I actually got to do it with pads and a helmet. I trained for months with ropes. We built a structure about four stories high so I could get used to the surfaces, costumes, heat. And then came the moment of running along the building. When I saw the first designs from Brad [director Brad Bird] I knew it would be amazing. I thought it would be very challenging for an audience as well as me. That's why I wanted to do it. There was a moment when I slammed into the building. I didn't quite make it around because I had to figure out actually how to fly. Using my feet as a rudder because you have cross winds up there. When I came off the building the shot he [Bird] wanted was so elegant, it took a while to figure out how not to come head first into the building," said Cruise before director Bird interrupted.
"Tom was messing around with stuntmen and I was having another conversation with someone else. The sun was going down and I kind of forgot he was out there," said Bird as Cruise looked on, laughing.
"Suddenly we saw this body and heard this 'woooooooooo' as Tom flew past the window. We saw this body arching around and then he went out of view and we just heard 'bump, bump'. We were like 'oh my god' and then we heard laughter, this small 'hehehe' from down below. That was the first time I realised it was going to be a really long shoot," said Bird.
Bird managed a few minutes of talk time along with Tom's co-stars Paula Patton, Simon Pegg and Anil Kapoor, but it was a humble Cruise the world's media wanted answers from at the press conference ahead of the red carpet premiere of the film at the eighth Dubai International Film Festival (Diff). Check out Gulf News' special coverage of Diff
"It's beautiful," said Cruise when asked his view on Dubai. "I was looking at the city as it was being built. I was looking at photographs as it was going up. The fun about doing movies like this is that you hope the first one will work so you can have the opportunity to make more. I get to fufill the dream of travelling the world and having adventures in different locations so any time there are different structures I kind of think, ‘How can I shoot that? What could I do with that?'."