City of Life (2009) Billed as ‘Dubai’s first profoundly Emirati motion picture’, City of Life delved into the lives of a diverse cast of residents: a young Emirati man, an Indian taxi driver and a Romanian air stewardess are among the characters it chronicles. The entire trilingual feature was shot in the UAE, with key scenes capturing the despair of taxi driver Basu (played by Sonu Sood) were filmed on the bank of the creek in Deira.
Code 46 (2004) This British sci-fi love story created a compelling vision of the near future by mashing together a collage of iconic cityscapes from across the world today. Dubai featured heavily on screen, merging with those in London, Shanghai and Hong Kong in the Mark Winterbottom-directed feature. This beautiful twilight scene saw stars Tim Robbins and Samantha Morton crossing the creek on a traditional abra.
Jumper (2003) In the midst of an epic fight scene, Hollywood stars Hayden Christensen and Jamie Bell are caught tumbling in front of the Burj Al Arab. The film focuses on a strange genetic anomaly that allows characters to ‘jump’ between locations across the globe at the drop of a hat. However, such was the brevity of their Dubai visit, it’s believed neither star set foot in the city; instead they brawled in front of a blue screen during filming.
Syriana (2006) Desert scenes from the geopolitical thriller, starring George Clooney and Matt Damon, were shot in Dubai, capturing the lonely wilderness outside the city’s suburbs. However the film later ran into trouble with censors, with two minutes of sensitive footage filmed in or around the UAE cut from the picture’s local release.
…and the venues that didn’t make the cut Several recent bids to film in the UAE have failed for logistical or legal reasons.
• Much of Sex and the City 2 (2010) was set in Abu Dhabi but filmed in Morocco: a request to film in the UAE was turned down.
• A deleted scene from 2008’s Iron Man, starring Robert Downey Jr, was shot in an unknown Dubai hotel.
• Ridley Scott reportedly attempted to film parts of his Middle Eastern action thriller Body of Lies (2008) in Dubai, but negotiations with authorities were unsuccessful. Similar talks by producers of last year’s The A-Team movie are also understood to have fallen flat.