Hollywood actor Tom Cruise during a photo call at the conclusion of a press conference at the Armani Hotel. The fourth installment of the Mission Impossible film series, titled Mission : Impossible Ghost Protocol will be partly filmed in Dubai. Tom Cruise was joined by fellow actors Jeremy Renner, Paula Patton, Producer Bryan Burk, Executive Producer Jeffrey Chernov and Director Brad Bird at the press conference. Image Credit: Megan Hirons Mahon/Gulf News

Dubai: Dubai is a living film set that Tom Cruise says he’s “always wanted to film in,” the actor announced on Thursday ahead of the start of filming for the fourth instalment of his Mission: Impossible franchise.

Cruise was joined by co-stars Jeremy Renner and Paula Patton, director Brad Bird and producers Jeffrey Chernov and Bryan Burk, who took time out from the first day of shooting on Thursday to hold a press conference at the Burj Khalifa, the first of several shooting locations in and around the city of Dubai.

“I would like to thank [His Highness] Shaikh Mohammad [Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai] for making this happen in this beautiful city. It’s going to be a great representation of the city - it’s very cinematic here.”

While neither Cruise nor the other cast and crew would reveal any details about filming locations or the plot of the film, producer Chernov said Dubai would be the “heartbeat” of the film. “Every movie needs a heartbeat, a centrepiece, and the centrepiece of our movie is Dubai.”

It’s the first time a major Hollywood film will be set in the city, and in another first, Cruise took great pleasure in announcing that this film will be called Mission: Impossible Ghost Protocol, unlike the previous installments, which had a numeral in the title.

“One of the things I always wanted for the franchise was for it not to have a number afterwards. I’ve never done sequels to films and I never thought of these films as sequels. Paramount has done a great job in coming up with a title, so it’s not going to be MI2, 3, 4: it’s going to be Mission: Impossible Ghost Protocol. I always felt it should have a title.”

The decision to film in Dubai was taken after Burke and fellow producer J. J. Abrams visited the city last year. “J. J. Abrams and I ... were going around the world and we happened to stop in Dubai for one evening. We were dumbfounded and J. J. said, ‘we have to come back here and make a movie’. When we got back, Tom had approached us about the new movie, and the first conversation that tom and J. J. had was, we have to shoot in Dubai.”

Chervov added that the conditions for shooting in Dubai are ideal for the “big cinema” style of the film. “We sent a lot of advance crew out to figure out how we can rig and shoot and stunt, and they all came back and said Dubai was so advanced, the harnesses were already built in. It is a town the feels like it was meant to be filmed in.”