A statement “on the behalf of the 80 cast and crew members” said they 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 rewrites of the script and lies that were told to all involved. We are deeply saddened by the tragedies that have occurred.”
Rosie Gray, from Buzzfeed, pointed out that the film’s overdubs may indicate that the footage was originally made for something completely different.
“Among the overdubbed words is ‘Mohammed’, suggesting that the footage was taken from a film about something else entirely,” she wrote. “The footage also suggests multiple video sources – there are obvious and jarring discrepancies among actors and locations.”
Gawker quoted an actress in the film, Cindy Lee Garcia from Bakersfield, California, who said she had no idea she was playing a role in a blasphemous spoof of the life of Mohammed. The script was entitled Desert Warriors, according to her.
“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 Mohammad or Muslims or anything.”
The scripted role of the “Mohammed” character was written as “Master George”, she said.