Dubai vs. Sex and the City 2

This article is from the archive of our partner .

Sarah Jessica Parker had a vision. The plot of her new film, Sex and the City 2, would be set in the emirate of Dubai. The sultry resort city would be the perfect getaway destination for the franchise's Manhattan-dwelling characters. Unfortunately for Parker, who executive-produced and starred in the film, Dubai wasn't as welcoming as she thought it would be.

According the films producers, they worked for half a year trying to gain shooting permits in Dubai but were denied because the film's title had the word "sex" in it. One producer told ABC News, "Half the story was originally set around Dubai," he said. "Ski Dubai was in, the Dubai Creek was in ... it was all about Dubai. They wanted the girls to be in a rich, modern Arab city."

So instead the producers moved the film to Abu Dhabi but Dubai officials "urged Abu Dhabi to decline," said a filmmaker. They stuck out again. The film would eventually be shot in Morocco despite the plot's claim that they're in Abu Dhabi.

Should Parker have known the emirates were going to be such a headache? Debbie Schlussel a film and political commentator thinks so:

It’s ironic that just after two Westerners lost their appeal of a conviction for kissing in public in the United Arab Emirates (UAE)–and have been sentenced to 30 days in jail, the new “Sex and the City 2” trailer... promotes the Emirates as a Western sex paradise and playground...And I just love how the movie shows star Sarah Jess-equine Parker finding her past love in the middle of the Arab Muslim desert.  Because, hey, that always happens, right?  Can’t find your long lost love from Jefferson High School . . . try looking in the Arab souk (market) on the streets of Abu Dhabi and the sands of its deserts.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.