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Hollywood action man wants to give Dubai starring role in powerboat movie

Travel News Asia 16 October 2002

Dubai could win a starring role in a Hollywood action movie based on world championship offshore powerboat racing.

Top film-maker, Renny Harlin, competing in this weekends Dubai Grand Prix, wants to feature the Emirate in a blockbuster to match some of his biggest international successes.

They include A Nightmare on Elm Street IV, Die Hard 2, Die Harder starring Bruce Willis, and Cliffhanger starring Sylvester Stallone.

If the government was receptive, we could base a big part of the film here, said Harlin, who partners Italian Eduardo Polli in Highlander, in the final round of the 2002 UIM Class 1 World Offshore Powerboat Championship over the next two days. Ive been blown away by Dubai. Its a wonderful place to shoot a movie. There are so many possibilities here.

In between preparing for his fourth Grand Prix as Pollis driver, Harlin has been shown around by Saeed Hareb, Managing Director of Dubai International Marine Club, where the event is based.

I had a fabulous time riding through the desert dunes, said Harlin. And my first question to Saeed was, Can I buy one of the houses on Palm Island (The Palm).

Harlin entered powerboat racing earlier this year to help him gain an understanding of the sport he wants to feature in an action movie. It will definitely be an all-star cast, he says. Ive already talked to the studios and theres a lot of enthusiasm. 

The plan now is to get together a screenplay and the financing. The script should be ready in the spring. My dream would be to race in next years Class 1 World Offshore Championship all season, but have a camera crew following the races in a helicopter to get real footage for the film

He added: With that in the bank, the earliest wed start shooting would be about a year from now, or more likely in the spring of 2004.

Harlins latest film, the psychological thriller, Mindhunters, starring, among others, Val Kilmer and Christian Slater, will be in cinemas in the US in February.

Meanwhile, another personality in Grand Prix action this weekend says Dubai already has a starring role in the worlds premier powerboat racing series.

Richard Ridout, chairman of the World Offshore Championship Committee (WOCC), said: This year, Dubai International Marine Club, guided by Saeed Hareb, has led the world in Class 1 offshore powerboat racing, being responsible for world championship events in in Fujairah and Qatar, as well as Dubai.

The idea to stage the new Lifestyles event over the next two days, to attract more people here, and create a special atmosphere, is the way forward. This is a brilliant development for the sport. Dubai is again setting standards for other to follow.

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