Anti-Muslim film producer 'terrified' of being found, man says
The mystery man behind a controversial anti-Muslim film that incited violent mobs in Libya and Egypt doesn't want to be identified and remains in hiding because he is afraid he may be tracked down and killed, a consultant to the movie said.
Steve Klein, a Hemet insurance agent and anti-Muslim activist, said he has been in touch with the film's producer since the deadly attack at the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi that killed U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans.
"He's absolutely terrified because they'll kill him if they find him," Klein said, referring to Muslims who might seek revenge because they are angry at the depiction of the prophet Muhammed in the film.
The filmmaker has not been named or identified, but a man using the pseudonym Sam Basile took credit for writing and directing the "Innocence of Muslims" in interviews with the Associated Press and Wall Street Journal. Basile described himself as a real estate developer, who received $5 million in funding for the project from Jewish donors.
The Associated Press tracked the phone number of the caller to Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, 55, who denied being the filmmaker, but acknowledged being the manager of the company that produced the film.
Records released Wednesday evening by FilmL.A. Inc. show that the film was shot in Los Angeles County in August 2011 under the working title "Desert Warriors."
A crew member who worked on the film and asked not to be identified told The Times the cast and crew had no idea they were making an anti-Islamic screed and had been told the film was a war drama called “Desert Warriors." Dialogue in the trailer that makes specific attacks against Islam was re-recorded after the actors had left the set, he said.
A source familiar with the production said the movie had one day of shooting at the Blue Cloud Movie Ranch in Santa Clarita. The ranch has a popular Middle Eastern town set that has been featured in several movies and television shows.
-- Phil Willon in Hemet and Richard Verrier in Los Angeles