Anti-Muslim film: ‘Nobody showed up’ for Hollywood screening
The cast and crew members of an anti-Muslim film that reportedly fueled an attack on the U.S. Consulate in Libya said they were unhappy with the film and were misled by the producer.
A statement was released to The Times on behalf of the 80 cast and crew members of "Innocence of Muslims," a film that reportedly prompted protests at the U.S. Embassy in Cairo and the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi.
"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," the statement says. "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."
Steve Klein, a Hemet insurance agent, has identified himself as a consultant to the movie and is in contact with the filmmaker. That filmmaker, who is using the pseudonym Sam Basile, took credit for the movie in interviews with the Associated Press and Wall Street Journal.
"Islam is a cancer, period," Basile told the AP.
In an interview with The Times, Klein said he can't comment on the actors' claims because he was not involved with them. He said he met Basile twice.
"He contacted me because I was going out to mosques and handing out fliers to people who I suspected were terrorists in the United States,'' said Klein, who has been active in anti-Muslim and extremist groups for decades.
Klein said he did not help fund the movie, but he declined to say who did contribute to the production costs, which he estimated to be about $5 million. He also declined to identify anyone else involved with the project, saying they were "scared to death" that relatives in the Middle East would be targeted.
"Sam's intent was to reach the very small faction of dangerous Muslims throughout California, and to get into their view of how Muhammad did operate.''
Klein said the movie was a full feature film that, when screened in Hollywood, failed to attract an audience.
The film -- which was then called "Innocence of Bin Laden" -– was shown on June 23 to an audience of less than 10 at a theater on Hollywood Boulevard, a source familiar with the screening said.
An "attractive" woman stood on Hollywood Boulevard and tried to interest passers-by in the movie, but got few takers, the source said.
"The acting was of the worst caliber," the source said.
The screening was at The Vine Theater, which rents itself out for private screenings, said one person involved in the theater.
The person said they had no inkling that that movie was anti-Islamic and did not recall the movie referencing the prophet Mohammad, although he said he did not see the whole thing.
"It was shown only one show. Nobody showed up."
-- Phil Willon in Hemet and Rebecca Keegan and Jessica Garrison in Los Angeles