'Star Trek Beyond' Cast, Crew Talk Filming in "Futureland" of Dubai

Dubai Film Festival - H 2013

Dubai Film Festival - H 2013

Simon Pegg, Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Karl Urban, Anton Yelchin and Enterprise newcomer Idris Elba will spend two weeks shooting on location in the Middle East city.

Five years after Tom Cruise famously dangled over the side of the world’s tallest tower, Dubai’s Burj Khalifa, for Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol, and just over 12 months since Star Wars: The Force Awakens landed in the Abu Dhabi desert, the United Arab Emirates has welcomed another major franchise – and another starring Simon Pegg – to its shores.

After three months in Vancouver the cast and crew of Star Trek Beyond touched down in Dubai earlier this week for a 13-day shoot on location around the city and in studio space at Dubai Studio City.

“We came searching for the future and we found it,” said producer Jeffrey Chernov of the city's architecture, speaking at a press conference on Wednesday to mark the start of shooting. It was Chernov who, in 2010, brought Ghost Protocol to Dubai as exec producer (and with J.J. Abrams that time as producer).

Chernov added that choosing Dubai — where around 200 extras will be used — was a mixture of both the script dictating locations and locations dictating the script.

“We’d drive around Dubai and look at things and we’d have to figure out how we can use those visual guides to tell our story,” he said. “I’d see a building and say, 'We have to figure out how to put that in our movie.'"

Chris Pine added that he thought the city was “futureland,” and looks like “what tomorrow would be.”

Meanwhile, Pegg, who co-wrote the script with Douglas Jung, discussed the “culturally bridging” qualities of Star Trek, which he said “imagines a world where there’s no conflict... although obviously they’re fighting aliens with tentacles.”

He said the film series offered a “utopian ideal where we can all just live together and there is no judgment and there is no prejudice.”

Star Trek newcomer Idris Elba — set to play the villain (although he added that he was not actually able to confirm that as per an NDA) — added that in bringing films such as Star Trek Beyond to Dubai it could be used as “a gateway to new cultures.”

The actor also added the principal photography would conclude in Dubai, after which he was set to remain in the city for a DJ set on Oct. 23.

Star Trek Beyond, directed by Justin Lin, is set to open July 22. It is also expected to have some teaser presence at the Dubai International Film Festival in December.