The director of an anti-Islam film that reportedly sparked deadly protests in Libya and Egypt is said to have duped actors into believing they were making a movie about "Master George", and not the Prophet Muhammad.
Bloggers analysing the script and YouTube clips of "Innocence of Muslims", a woefully amateur film which depicts the Prophet Muhammad as a homosexual who endorses extramarital sex and paedophilia, also say the prophet's name appears to have been dubbed over in post production.
The actors say they were given a script with the name 'Master George', a fictitious character, which was then changed into 'Muhammad' without them knowing.
Violence broke out in Benghazi and the Egyptian capital Cairo apparently over the film
A statement released on the behalf of 80 cast and crew members read: "The entire cast and crew are extremely upset and feel taken advantage of by the producer.
"We are 100% not behind this film and were grossly misled about its intent and purpose.
"We are shocked by the drastic re-writes of the script and lies that were told to all involved. We are deeply saddened by the tragedies that have occurred."
The film had a cast of 59 actors with 45 crew.
The YouTube film sparked protests in Cairo and Benghazi, and were said to have been the reason behind the killing of the US ambassador to Libya, Chris Stevens.
The US is now investigating whether protests about the film might have been a smokescreen for a premeditated terrorist attack on the embassy, to coincide with 9/11.
Protesters chant slogans amid orange smoke outside the embassy in Cairo
The original casting note, posted on Craig's List advertised:
NOW CASTING SAG [Screen Actors Guild] and NON SAG ACTORS for "DESERT WARRIOR." Director Alan Roberts. Historical desert drama set in Middle East. Indie Feature film shoots 18 days in L.A. in August. Studio and backlot locations.
Male Roles: DR. MATTHEW (Lead): Middle Eastern Pharmacist, 40-50, intelligent, family man; GEORGE (Lead); 40-50, Middle Eastern warrior leader, romantic, charismatic; YOUNG GEORGE (featured) 18-22; PRIEST (featured): 60-70, bearded; ABDO (featured), 60-70, Elder tribe leader; ISRAELI MEN 30-50 (featured); WARRIORS (featured) 18-50, Various Middle Eastern types, bearded.
Female Roles: CONDALISA (featured) 40, attractive, successful, strong willed; HILLARY (featured) 18 but must look younger, petite; innocent; YOUSTINA (featured) 16-18, Daughter of doctor; MIDDLE EASTERN WOMEN (Various Featured Roles) 18-40, attractive, exotic; OLDER WOMAN (featured) 60-70, feisty.
Please place Role desired in SUBJECT: line of email.
Indicate SAG or NON-SAG
Sarah Abdurrahman, wrote for On The Media, that she had analysed the trailer for the film, a 14 minute clip, where every reference to Islam has been poorly dubbed in post-production.
She said: "Anytime the actors are referring to something specific to the religion, the Prophet Muhammad, the Quran etc, the audio recorded during filming is replaced with a poorly executed post-production dub.
"And if you look even closer, you can see that the actors’ mouths are saying something other than what the dub is saying.
"For example, the voiceover says “His name is Muhammed. And we can call him The Father Unknown.”
"In this case, the whole line is dubbed, and it appears the actor is actually saying, “His name is George. And we can call him The Father Unknown.”
"I assume the filmmakers thought they were being slick, thinking that dubbing the whole line instead of just the name would make it more seamless and less noticeable to the viewer. But once you start to look for these dubs, it’s hard to see anything else."
"There are countless other examples throughout the trailer, and I imagine throughout the full length film as well. But why would the filmmaker do this?
"I can't help but wonder if the actors involved in the project were told what kind of film they were making.
"If you remove all the references to Islam in the trailer, the movie reads like some cheesy Arabian Nights story, and it is quite possible that that is all the actors thought they were doing."
The poorly dubbed film reportedly cost $5m and had a cast of 59 actors
Various obscene references appear to have been dubbed into the film, including references to "false verses" in to Quran, and actors calling Muhammad a "murderous thug" and a "child molester".
Abdurrahman added: "As an American, a Libyan, a Muslim, and a human being I am appalled by the violent reaction to the film.
"The movie is disgusting, offensive, and clearly intended for no other reason than to anger people, and it is unfortunate that there were some out there who took the bait."
Gawker interviewed a female member of the cast, Cindy Le Garcia, who had a small role as a woman whose young daughter is given to Muhammad to marry. The script she was given was titled Desert Warriors.
She told the website: "It was going to be a film based on how things were 2,000 years ago.
"It wasn't based on anything to do with religion, it was just on how things were run in Egypt. There wasn't anything about Muhammad or Muslims or anything."
She said that the main character was called "Master George" not "Muhammad".
"I had nothing to do really with anything," she said. "Now we have people dead because of a movie I was in. It makes me sick.
"I'm going to sue their butt off."
But mystery also surrounds the maker of the film, a man who told CNN his name was Sam Bacile, an American-Israeli Jew, living in southern California. He said the film had "100 Jewish backers".
The Atlantic reported that "Bacile, the producer of the film, is not Israeli, and most likely not Jewish, as has been reported, and that the name is, in fact, a pseudonym."
A vehicle sits smouldering in flames after being set on fire inside the US consulate compound in Benghazi
Self-described "militant Christian" activist Steve Klein told the Atlantic: "I don't know that much about him. I met him, I spoke to him for an hour. He's not Israeli, no. I can tell you this for sure, the State of Israel is not involved, Terry Jones (the radical Christian Quran-burning pastor) is not involved.
"His name is a pseudonym. All these Middle Eastern folks I work with have pseudonyms. I doubt he's Jewish. I would suspect this is a disinformation campaign.
"Nobody is anything but an active American citizen. They're from Syria, Turkey, Pakistan, they're some that are from Egypt. Some are Copts but the vast majority are Evangelical."
AP reported that it had identified a California Coptic Christian Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, previously convicted of financial crimes, who acknowledged his role in managing and providing logistics for the production.
Nakoula denied it was he directed the film and said he knew "Sam Bacile".
But the mobile phone number used originally to reach "Bacile" was traced to the same address near Los Angeles where AP found Nakoula.
Nakoula denied he had posed as Bacile.
Morris Sadek, an Egypt-born Coptic Christian and head of the National American Coptic Assembly, told the Associated Press he had been promoting the film on his website, but denied he had made the film himself.
Terry Jones, the Florida pastor whose burning of copies of the Quran in 2011 spurred riots across the Muslim world, also reportedly promoted the film.
Israel's Foreign Ministry said the film "has nothing to do whatsoever with Israel".
Spokesman Yigal Palmor said: This guy is totally anonymous. At this point no-one can confirm he holds Israeli citizenship.
"He didn't do it for us, in coordination with us or through any sort of channel connected to Israeli institutions. He's a complete loose cannon, and an unspeakable idiot. The film is intolerable intolerance."
CNN reported that US officials speaking on condition of anonymity said they believe the attack that killed four Americans in Benghazi was planned before the protests, with the YouTube film a convenient excuse.
"It was not an innocent mob," one senior official said. "The video or 9/11 made a handy excuse and could be fortuitous from their perspective, but this was a clearly planned military-type attack."
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