By Carol Huang

DUBAI // Eager crowds may catch their final glimpses of Tom Cruise this week as filming outside the Burj Khalifa for Mission: Impossible Ghost Protocol wraps up. The Hollywood star has been dangling off the world’s tallest tower this week, reprising his role as Ethan Hunt in the fourth instalment of the spy thrillers.

Tom Cruise takes time out from filming to meet Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.  WAM
Tom Cruise takes time out from filming to meet Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai. WAM

On Saturday, he dropped down to the observation tower on the 124th floor to the shock – and delight – of tourists inside.

One visitor snapped a picture as the world-famous actor looked in with a grin, suspended by wires and dressed in black. “He smiled and laughed,” Ben Mathew told the Daily Mail. “He was as cool as a cucumber.”

But the rest of the filming over the next three weeks will be closed to the public, said a source involved in production. “Wherever we are filming, people are not going to get access.

“Obviously, people hanging off a building [cannot be shielded from sight],” the source said. “But that’s the only thing.”

Some shots will be taken at a replica of the 828-metre-high skyscraper which is being built at International Media Production Zone, using the same glass and other materials. Other replicas will also be used so that actors can film more conveniently.

The cast have worked at more discreet locations since they arrived in Dubai last week. A few days ago, they shot scenes near a camel farm in the desert about an hour outside of town in the direction of Hatta. They also filmed at the Dubai Creek near the Hilton hotel, according to two sources who have been working at the set.

The few members of the public in the know about locations are the extras who were picked to appear in the film. Different groups of the 1,000-plus extras have shown up for shooting almost every day, though the majority will appear in an indoor scene toward the end of the month.

Also on location is a 400-strong crew, including security guards, caterers and personal chefs for the main actors. They are putting in 12 or more hours a day – sometimes starting at dawn or staying on site for up to 20 hours. They are scheduled to work at least six days a week.

Crew members receive word one day in advance where and when they are expected to show up the next day, as is standard practice in the industry.

They are using three base camps around Dubai. One is near the Burj Khalifa and another is at International Media Production Zone.

During his downtime last Thursday, Cruise made an impromptu visit to the indoor ski slope at Mall of the Emirates, where he posed for pictures with fans.