- Associated Press - Thursday, October 28, 2010

DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES (AP) - The crew of the latest “Mission: Impossible” will have at least one tall task: filming shots involving the world’s highest building.

The filmmakers are being tightlipped about plot details and where exactly they plan to shoot in Dubai. But star Tom Cruise and producer Bryan Burk did let slip Thursday that the fourth installment of the big screen series will feature scenes with the Mideast city-state’s more than half-mile-high (828-meter-high) Burj Khalifa.

“I’ll be spending many days, many hours on the side of this building,” Cruise told The Associated Press at the base of the silvery spire. “I can’t give you details, but I will be up there,” he said.

Unlike previous sequels in the spy franchise, the fourth installment will go without a number. Cruise blew its cover Thursday: “Mission: Impossible _ Ghost Protocol.”

Cruise is in the emirate with his family to shoot scenes for the movie after wrapping up filming in the Czech capital Prague. Co-stars Paula Patton from “Precious” and Jeremy Renner from “The Hurt Locker” are also in town.

In an interview, Cruise dismissed talk that he’d taken a big upfront pay cut for this “Mission: Impossible.”

The 48-year-old star, who most recently appeared alongside Cameron Diaz in the poorly performing “Knight and Day,” laughed off a question about whether he was still bankable at this stage of his career. “No worries” was his brief response.

And as for speculation he could reprise his role as Lt. Pete “Maverick” Mitchell in a Top Gun sequel? Cruise was noncommittal.

“Those things are a long way off. It takes a long time to figure out stuff,” he said.

Filmmakers said little about what role Dubai would play in the upcoming “Mission: Impossible,” which will also include scenes shot in Moscow and Vancouver.

They ducked questions about financial troubles and global terrorism, opting instead to praise Dubai’s boldness and over-the-top architecture.

“We love the fact that it’s a big, new city, that it hasn’t been photographed very much … It’s almost like sets that you could never afford,” said director Brad Bird, who is best known for helming the animated features “Ratatouille” and “The Incredibles.”

The Persian Gulf sheikdom raced to put up towering skyscrapers and manmade islands during a multiyear building boom, only to see its fortunes turn sour and property prices collapse when the global economy stumbled.

It has also emerged as a city of international intrigue, highlighted by this year’s assassination of Hamas commander Mahmoud al-Mabhouh, allegedly by a hit team of Israeli spies, in a Dubai hotel room.

Dubai is eager to attract big-budget filmmakers. It has held an international film festival since 2004. A company run by the emirate’s ruler is building a Mideast version of Hollywood on the city’s outskirts that promises film studios, backlots and sound stages.

Those efforts are starting to pay off.

Portions of the 2005 political thriller “Syriana,” starring George Clooney and Matt Damon, were filmed here, but the city wasn’t identified by name.

The opening minutes of last year’s spy-themed comedy “Duplicity” were set in Dubai and featured exterior shots of the city, though Clive Owen and Julia Roberts actually filmed those scenes elsewhere.

That means the latest “Mission: Impossible” could be Dubai’s biggest starring role yet.

The film is due out in December next year.

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