Actress writes of anti-Islam movie horror

2012-09-18 16:41
Cape Town - Georgian actress Anna Gurji has written a letter to author Neil Gaiman detailing her experience working on the movie that would go on to become controversial anti-Islam movie Innocence of Muslims, which has led to violent riots around much of the Arab world.

Gaiman explains in a post on his website titled "A Letter from a Scared Actress" that he had met Gurji while working together on another movie, Blood Kiss, together.

Gurji wrote to Gaiman (best known for books such as Stardust and Coraline): "Last summer I auditioned for an indie low budget feature movie and I landed a supporting role. The movie was about a comet falling into a desert and ancient tribes fighting over it for they thought that the comet had some magical powers.

"A year later, the movie was dubbed (without the actors' permission), the lines were changed drastically and the movie was morphed into an Anti-Islam film. Even the names of the characters were changed. And the character I had scenes with GEORGE became MUHAMMAD."

'Jewish donors'

Scared and confused about how to tell her story in light of the violent attacks that have broken out because of the movie's depiction of Islam, which it describes as a "cancer", and mocks the Prophet Muhammad, Gaiman encouraged Gurji to write a letter which he posted verbatim.

Originally titled Desert Warrior, the a movie that was supposed to be about tribal battles prompted by the arrival of a comet on Earth. But Desert Warrior was heavy dubbed and post-production editing.

The man behind the hateful project has been identified as softcore porn director Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, a a 55-year-old Coptic Christian from Egypt who claimed the movie had the financial backing of "Jewish donors", according to The Guardian.

Nakoula and his family have gone into hiding and he was interviewed by California federal probation officers, who are reviewing a 2010 case in which he pleaded guilty to a bank fraud charge.

'I could not stop crying'

In her letter posted on Gaiman's website, Gurji makes explicit that she was not aware of Nakoula's plans.

"There was no mention EVER by anyone of MUHAMMAD and no mention of religion during the entire time I was on the set," she writes. "I am hundred percent certain nobody in the cast and nobody in the U.S. artistic side of the crew knew what was really planned for this Desert Warrior.

"Two hours after I found out everything that had happened I gave 'Inside Edition' an interview, the duration of which I could not stop crying," she continues.

"I feel shattered ... It's painful to see how our faces were used to create something so atrocious without us knowing anything about it at all. It's painful to see people being offended with the movie that used our faces to deliver lines (it’s obvious the movie was dubbed) that we were never informed of, it is painful to see people getting killed for this same movie."

While Gurji fears for her safety, she has not gone into hiding. "I don’t know what else to do but speak the truth," she said. "I will not go into hiding (since I have nothing to hide), because if we don’t speak the truth, there is no world worth living for."

The movie has been cited as the reason behind the deadly suicide bomb attack in Kabul on Tuesday which killed eight South Africans, as well as a number of other deadly attacks in Arab regions.


  • boom.afridi.56 - 2012-09-18 17:07

    Why is this not in the main section of news24?

      ronald.utenhage - 2012-09-19 14:21

      I admire this lady’s courage and wish her well. She is innocent and may God protect her.

  • fort.horseman.7 - 2012-09-18 17:45

    It wudnt surprise me in the least if some who comment here were some of the culprits.

      fatima.shaikjee - 2012-09-18 18:56

      Oh my. Word...(Bbm cnt look face) as a muslim I won't even go to afghaistan or anywhere where there's a war and. So u think we keep in contact with those afghanis.... They don't even speak english.... Hahahahahahahha u guys are so weird its hilarious....

      fort.horseman.7 - 2012-09-18 19:14

      @fathima.what shaik have u been drinking??

      andre.vandeventer.16 - 2012-09-19 07:47

      Fatima, one question. Why is the Muslim world carrying on murdering innocent people in the process, blowing themselves and others up, because of a second rate film and other grievances? They are killed more of their own since 2011 than the USA and allies have killed. If they are really peace loving, why do they do it? Muslim tribes are eradicating each other at a tremendous rate!

      UncleShep - 2012-09-19 09:44

      Islamic teachings are all about peace and Muslims are peace loving people....JUST DO NOT PROVOKE THEM.......!

  • Elias Tabane - 2012-09-18 18:09

    May be we should make a movie about holocaust and zionist occupation in gaza....

      harris.jones.1848 - 2012-09-18 19:23

      I use to be Christian, I was very active within the Christian community. I am now muslim and am absolutely disgusted with the hate Christianity has for Islam. I can not understand why the purest religion on earth is hated so much when the west knows nothing about it except the islam= suicide bomber propaganda that most haters love to throw into a discussion. Let me clarify. Suicide bombing is not mentioned in Islam. In apartheid oppressed South Africans used various means to overcome an adversity. The bombing of certain locations also occurred. Innocent oppressed people and children who happen to be muslim are oppressed and murdered in the millions-(this is well documented) and one of the means by which by which they choose to try and fight back against the oppessor is

      gordon.turner.37 - 2012-09-18 20:54

      There have been a few already... Get a library card.

      boltonbarry - 2012-09-18 22:39

      Harris please provide me with the number and what your source is to say that Muslims are banned in their millions

  • jonivdw - 2012-09-18 19:09

    I watched the trailer & bits of the full movie, this is a vile and offensive movie.... The acting is the worst I've ever seen, the content repulsive and intended to be offensive to Muslims.... I don't agree with the violent protests as there are more constructive means to getting your opinion and disgust across.... But I can understand why the Muslim community are upset... It's deliberately inflammatory.

      gordon.turner.37 - 2012-09-18 20:11

      Why not just ignore it. No sane person can believe it to anything but dustbin material. The constant threat of violence from all the parties of god remain the greatest danger

      jonivdw - 2012-09-18 22:10

      Wanted to see what the fuss was all about and try understand why people are reacting the way they are.... But for some or other reason I found this vile and a deliberate attempt to incite violence.....

      sara.wa.52 - 2012-09-19 11:00

      @ gordon. turner.37.. you are right ... it should better be ignored but on the other side they are also right ... they have been ignoring these stupid acts for many times now

      gordon.turner.37 - 2012-09-19 17:33

      So killing people that have nothing to do with it is acceptable? Logic is incomprehensible

  • thisme.thule - 2012-09-18 20:02

  • fort.horseman.7 - 2012-09-18 21:56

    Are people in denial to acknowledge who the true haters,violators,aggressors and antagonizers are?CAN U PLS READ THE HEADING OF THIS ARTICLE PROPERLY AND ITS CONTENTS.

  • fort.horseman.7 - 2012-09-18 22:08

    Islam and the Quran belong to Allah.All week ppl have bin mocking Islam and blaspheming the Quran.So when Allah sends His Wrath as He Wills,dont complain!This is not 'politics' that u playing with!

  • ahmed.moola1 - 2012-09-18 22:52

    911 made the Quraan No. 1 selling book on the planet. The burning of the Quraan lead more people to read their holy books cover to cover thereby comparing it to the Quraan and lo and behold after sincere and genuine comparison 99% of them have attested to the Quraan's living miracle.Now hopefully the Sira (life and times of the holy prophet(P.B.U.H)) would be studied and as predicted the rate of reversion would conservatively Quadruple!!!

  • ahmed.moola1 - 2012-09-19 08:53

    All that needs understanding is simply know your subject. I cannot comment on the churches and beheadings you talk about as i don't know the full story like i cannot comment on the churches involvement in the over 1 million peoples genocide in Ruwanda. Falsehood by its nature is sure to perish.

  • sara.wa.52 - 2012-09-19 10:29

    :) - Cheers ... Don't be part of a game,that you don't know the rules for. live your life as you feel best ... it is not for you to decide & Judge who is right & who is not & don't take it personal ... this war is b/w religions not individuals ... coming to afghanistan sucide bombing - that is still a war b/w religions but it will soon be over ... be sure afghans haven't reacted yet .. wha is done there - is all what the neighboring countrise + US are doin ... a well educated person should know what is going on -

  • ronald.utenhage - 2012-09-19 14:18

    I wish this lady well and commend her courage. She is innocent and worthy of our support. may God protect her

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