By Annabel Katarina www.my.telegraph.co.uk
Annabel Kantaria explains why she’s not surprised the next James Bond book will be set in Dubai, plus Anna Nicholas on the mugging of Harry Redknapp in Spain.
“Is there a correlation between a city’s economic woes and its hosting of big budget films?” asked Emirati social commentator Mishaal Al Gergawi this week on Twitter, his tongue, I imagine, firmly in his cheek as Dubai’s central role in yet another blockbuster was announced.
Indeed, just as Tom Cruise and the Mission Impossible 4 boys climb down from the Burj Khalifa, we hear about Dubai’s next starring role: our city is to be the backdrop for the 28th James Bond book, “Carte Blanche”, which is due to be released in May.
Speaking at a press conference in Dubai this week, author Jeffery Deaver said that he picked Dubai because it had for him the same “exotic” appeal that the Caribbean or Hong Kong had for original Bond author Ian Fleming – namely, a breathtaking mix of the old and the new, stunning architecture and plenty of potential locations for intrigue. “Had Ian Fleming lived now, he would have picked Dubai,” he told the press.
While keeping details of the plot under wraps, Deaver let slip that the book, instead of being a period piece, will be set in present-day Dubai and that the glamorous InterContinental Hotel in Dubai Festival City would feature. He added that Bond will be given “carte blanche” on his Dubai mission, raising the question of whether there are any lines that even James Bond should not cross.
Well, I can think of a few. In Dubai, the notorious womaniser will have to keep his hands – and lips – off lady spies to whom he’s not married or risk adding a dramatic escape from Dubai Central Jail to his mission; his heroines will be sleeping in an adjacent hotel room unless he makes an honest woman of them; he won’t be enjoying a vodka martini – neither shaken nor stirred – without an alcohol licence; and, unless it’s a hire car, he certainly won’t be driving his Bentley Continental GT without first queuing at the Bur Dubai Traffic Department for a temporary visitor’s driving licence and buying a Salik (road toll) sticker. Heaven forbid any exciting scenes take place on Dubai Metro: Will our dashing hero defy officials by running on the Rashidiya platform?
Technicalities aside, it’s easy to be cynical about why Dubai’s suddenly appearing in blockbuster books and movies, but you can’t deny that, from its gleaming futuristic skyline to its rolling, red sand dunes and bustling souqs, Dubai is a stunning city and – as we’ll see when MI4 comes out in December, I bet it shoots a fabulous movie.