A posting in the online archives of Backstage offers strong evidence that the actors cast in "The Innocence of Muslims" were misled by the film's producers about the project's content and intentions. The original casting call for "Desert Warrior" listed the director as "Alan Roberts" and the producer as "Sam Bassiel," a slight variation on the names "Sam Bacile" and "Sam Bossil."
The name "Sam Bacile" has since been proven to be an alias for Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, a Los Angeles-based, 55-year-old Copic Christian with a record of previous felonies and aliases. Federal court papers listed Nakoula's numerous aliases as Nicola Bacily, Erwin Salameh, Amal Nada; Daniel K. Caresman, and P.J Tobacco, among others.
Though Bacile's identity is now closer to being verified, cast members are claiming that "Alan Roberts" -- or whatever his true name may be -- was also on set. According to another actor and crew member on the film who spoke to Gawker, Roberts was "a white man in his late 50s or early 60s," who didn't know very basic aspects about film production. The Internet Movie Database lists multiple entries for people named Alan Roberts, though none have any recent directing credits.
VICE Magazine says they were given documents linking "Alan Roberts" to a man named Robert Brownell, who was tied to pre-production for "Desert Warrior," but might not be the man who actually "directed" the film.
The original casting notice, posted on Backstage, refers to the film as an "HD 24P historical Arabian Desert adventure," which was set to be shot in in Los Angeles.
The characters being sought at the time were:
Dr. Matthew: male, 45-55, Middle Eastern, modern day pharmacist, well educated, intellectual, LEAD; Captain: male, 40-50, modern day policeman, accent, featured; George: male, 20-40, a strong leader, romantic, tyrant, a killer with no remorse, accent, LEAD; Warriors: male, 18-60, numerous character roles, fighters, muscular, bearded, shaved, ethnic types, featured; Bilal: male, 25-35, African-American, strong, warrior, featured; Solyman: male, 60-70, bearded religious leader, featured; Asaad: male, 45-60, bearded tribe leader, intellectual, Israeli accent, featured; Moshei: male, 30-40, a trader, business leader, Israeli accent, featured; Mathew's Daughter: 16-18, Middle Eastern, modern day, accent, featured; Condalisa: female, 35-45, a Queen, self-assured, a boss, cunning, featured; Hilary: female, 18 but looks much younger, petite, innocent, featured; Olivia: female, 80+, older character woman with principles, featured; Females: 20-45, various supporting roles, strong dramatic abilities, exotic qualities, attractive middle eastern types, accents, featured; Character Females: 30-40, various types, sizes, featured; Males: 20-60, modern day villagers.
In a joint statement to CNN, the actors and crew members behind the film stressed that they had no idea the film would be used to antagonize members of any religion.
"The entire cast and crew are extremely upset and feel taken advantage of by the producer," they said in a statement to CNN. "We are shocked by the drastic rewrites of the script and lies that were told to all involved. We are deeply saddened by the tragedies that have occurred."
Cindy Lee Garcia, an actress from Bakersfield, Calif., told Gawker that in casting notices the film was referred to as "Desert Warriors." She also said that "Dr. Matthew" was the pseudonym actors were instructed to use instead in place of the name "Mohammed," which was later haphazardly dubbed over their voices in post-production.
The producers were clearly unable to find authentically "Middle Eastern" actors for the roles they were seeking, as actors reported that they were caked in dark makeup for the film. One of those actors was Tim Dax, who released a statement to the blog, "Joe. My. God.," about his role in the film. Dax, who has appeared in gay porn and low-budget horror films, said he completed a week and a half of work on the project, receiving "75 bucks a day & lunch." He adds that he is very much "NOT anti muslim."
To protect other actors and crew members who don't want their names released, the film's L.A county shooting permit has been sealed.
According to The Hollywood Reporter:
The county is holding the film permit under lock and key for now while it alerts those who are named on it that their identities -- assuming they are real -- are about to made public. Insiders say law-enforcement officials are concerned for the safety of the filmmakers once their true identities are known.
The Hollywood Reporter noted that the film was at least partially shot on a portion of The Blue Cloud Film Ranch, 30 miles north of Hollywood, called "Baghdad Square," which was built for the TV show, "Jag."
In a video that has since been password-protected on YouTube, Blue Cloud's owner Rene Veluzat said he built the set along with "'JAG' and Paramount.'"
The FBI and the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department were interviewing Veluzat on Thursday, and Veluzat told The Hollywood Reporter that both law-enforcement agencies instructed him not to speak with the press or other interested parties about what he knows about The Innocence of Muslims.
UPDATE: A Screen Actors Guild (SAG) spokesperson tells the Huffington Post that the film had never applied for a SAG union contract, contrary to their original casting notice.
"The production that has been described as having been listed in casting notices as a 'SAG Ultra Low Budget Pending' project 'Desert Warrior' was not covered by a SAG-AFTRA Agreement," the spokesperson said. "There is no 'pending' category: Productions are either signed to an agreement or are not signatory productions. There are three projects with that title listed in our records, but none that was signed to an agreement. The applications were never completed and filed with the union so the film(s) are not covered. We have no other information about the production and cannot comment further."
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