'It Makes Me Sick': Actress in Muhammed Movie Says She Was Deceived, Had No Idea It Was About Islam
The story of the Muhammed movie which sparked deadly protests in Libya and Egypt gets weirder. The actors who appeared in it had no idea they were starring in anti-Islam propaganda which depicts Muhammed as a child molester and thug. They were deceived by the film's director, believing they were appearing in a film about the life of a generic Egyptian 2,000 years ago.
Cindy Lee Garcia, an actress from Bakersfield, Calif., has a small role in the Muhammed movie as a woman whose young daughter is given to Muhammed to marry. But in a phone interview this afternoon, Garcia told us she had no idea she was participating in an offensive spoof on the life of Muhammed when she answered a casting call through an agency last summer and got the part.
The script she was given was titled simply Desert Warriors.
"It was going to be a film based on how things were 2,000 years ago," Garcia said. "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 Muhammed or Muslims or anything."
In the script and during the shooting, nothing indicated the controversial nature of the final product, now called Muslim Innocence. Muhammed wasn't even called Muhammed; he was "Master George," Garcia said. The word "Muhammed" was dubbed over in post-production, as were essentially all other offensive references to Islam and Muhammed.
For example, at 9:03 in the trailer, Garcia berates her husband, who wants to send their daughter to Muhammed: "Is your Muhammed a child molester?" she says in the final product. But the words are dubbed over what she actually said. The line in the script—and the line Garcia gave during filming—was, "is your God a child molester," Garcia told us today.
Garcia was horrified when she saw the end product, and when protesters in Libya killed four U.S. Embassy employees.
"I had nothing to do really with anything," she said today. "Now we have people dead because of a movie I was in. It makes me sick."
According to Garcia, her three days on set last July were unremarkable. The film's mysterious pseudonymous writer and director, "Sam Bacile," has claimed to be an Israeli real estate mogul. But Garcia said Bacile told her he was Egyptian on set. Bacile had white hair and spoke Arabic to a number of "dark-skinned" men who hung around the set, she said. (A Bacile associate also told The Atlantic he wasn't Israeli or Jewish.)
"He was just really mellow. He was just sitting there and he wanted certain points to be made."
Once, Garcia said, Bacile wanted a girl that "Master George" (aka Muhammed) was to sleep with to look seven years old, instead of 10, to heighten the outrage. But his Assistant Directors protested, saying that was too young.
After the protests erupted and Bacile appeared in the media, Garcia called him up today to express her outrage at his deception.
"I called Sam and said, 'Why did you do this?' and he said, 'I'm tired of radical Islamists killing each other. Let other actors know it's not their fault.'"
Garcia isn't satisfied simply knowing it wasn't her fault.
"I'm going to sue his butt off."
Update: The entire 80-member cast and crew of the film have released a statement saying they were misled. Via CNN:
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.
Update II: Here's what appears to be the original casting call, posted in July 2011on craigslist:
NOW CASTING SAG 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
Require phone contact for immediate interview in Beverly/LaCienega area.
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