Worried that the film was too racy for the conservative Emirate, Abu Dhabi declined to allow filming in the city. But the film is still set in modern-day Abu Dhabi.
"The film exposes some of the complexities for Gulf cities trying to compete on the international stage. Abu Dhabi has aggressively marketed itself as an emerging hub for film studios and production companies. But there's a high sensitivity about plots perceived as too racy or politically charged about regional affairs.
The UAE's refusal to participate in the film reflects a desire to "control their brand," said Leila Hudson, graduate director of Near Eastern studies at the University of Arizona."