Tom Cruise leads ‘MI4’ cast into Dubai

Stellar cast arrives, as filming gets going

Keep your eyes peeled for some of Hollywood’s most beautiful people over the next few weeks.

A-list star Tom Cruise leads a stellar cast of talent into Dubai this weekend, as filming for “Mission: Impossible IV” gets going on Thursday.

Director Brad Bird, actors Paula Patton, Jeremy Renner and producer Bryan Burk will join him for three weeks in the emirate, where parts of the fourth instalment in the action franchise are to be filmed.

The actors are due to address the media on Thursday afternoon.

“MI 4” is scheduled for release across the United States ahead of Christmas 2011. It is widely expected that the film’s UAE premiere will be at the Dubai International Film Festival 2011.

Production work on the film moves to the UAE after a stint in Prague, where Cruise was photographed performing the sort of stunts the franchise has a reputation for.

In recent weeks, star-struck Dubai residents eager for their 15 minutes of fame have rushed to apply for roles as extras in the film.

Dubai-based company Mediacubed, which was appointed the local casting agency, told local media “thousands” of hopefuls sent in applications in the first week alone. More than 1,000 extras are believed to have been recruited, including roles for men and women in Indian wear, business executives and three speaking parts.

Locations around the UAE are expected to include the Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building, and the Palm Jumeirah.

The film is one of a handful of Hollywood productions to be shot in the UAE, but local authorities have ramped up marketing efforts in recent years to bring more productions to the country. While they have been successful with “Syriana” and “The Kingdom”, other films such as “Sex and the City 2” and “The A-Team”, have been unsuccessful due to financing or cultural sensitivity issues.

From Dubai, production on “MI 4” moves to Vancouver for a three-month period beginning December.

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