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‘The Bold and the Beautiful’ lands in UAE ‘It’s very entertaining to show these exotic locales’

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates, March 18, (AP): The American soap opera “The Bold and the Beautiful” is taking the show on the road again, this time all the way to the money-soaked shores of the Arabian Peninsula. Cast members including Katherine Kelly Lang and Don Diamont began filming scenes Monday overlooking Dubai’s skyscraper-studded skyline. Among the sights they’re taking in are the city’s main man-made palm-shaped island and the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa. The crew of the show, which celebrates its 27th anniversary on air next week, will continue filming down the coast in the United Arab Emirates capital of Abu Dhabi. Some scenes there are being shot at the Emirates Palace hotel, an opulent beachfront complex that is arguably the city’s swankiest place to sleep. It’s a popular stopover spot for visiting royalty and heads of state as well as deep-pocketed tourists stopping by to pick up a pricey souvenir from its gold bar vending machine.

“Daytime shows don’t typically get out on location, certainly not the way we have,” Diamont, who plays businessman Bill Spencer on the show, told The Associated Press during a break from filming. “I think for the fans it’s very entertaining to show these exotic locales.” “The Bold and the Beautiful” has filmed overseas before, including in Italy, Mexico and Australia. But executive producer and head writer Brad Bell says the UAE is the farthest the show has traveled from its Los Angeles base. Bell said he has long wanted to film in the Emirates because he is fascinated by the country’s rapid growth and over-the-top attractions like the Palm Jumeirah island. They chose to go for it now because lead actress Lang wanted to take part in last weekend’s Abu Dhabi International Triathlon. “I said ‘we’re going to load up the station wagon, get all the guys together and we’re going to shoot there.’ Because it’s something I’ve always wanted to do,” Bell said. Cast members are shooting parts of nine episodes during just three days of filming in the Emirates, he said.

In the show, Spencer takes Lang’s character, Brooke Logan, to the Emirates to get married. While the crew is reluctant to divulge too many details, things could go awry because her on-and-off-again lover Ridge Forrester, played by Thorsten Kaye, is also in town for filming. Lang’s character has been married so many times on the show that even she can’t remember. “I don’t count anymore,” she said. “The Bold and the Beautiful” has a wide international following, and says it is seen by millions of viewers in more than 100 countries. It has been popular for years across the Arab world, though competition has grown as viewers tune in to increasingly popular Turkish soap operas and round-the-clock news and movie channels. Episodes of the soap opera air three times a day on the Dubai One satellite network. “Many people here come up, say how much they love the show,” Lang said. “I didn’t know how popular it was here.”

For the Emirates, the three-day shoot is an opportunity to help develop the local entertainment industry. Dubai and Abu Dhabi, the country’s two biggest cities, have each been working to entice filmmakers to the country. A large part of 2011’s “Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol” was shot in Dubai. Scenes for the forthcoming “Fast & Furious 7” will be shot in Abu Dhabi in April. An Abu Dhabi government-backed media hub known as twofour54 is acting as the local producer and is helping with logistics for “The Bold and the Beautiful” shoot, according to its head of sales, Jamal al-Awadhi. The Abu Dhabi Film Commission is offering a 30 percent rebate on crew spending.

Bell hopes the show’s Mideast foray changes viewers’ perceptions of the region. “I was just struck by how wonderfully open and welcoming everyone was. Just the beauty and extent of all there is to see here in Dubai, it’s something that the world needs to see,” he said. Episodes shot in the Emirates are expected to air in the US in late May.

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