Some interesting and convincing points are made.
The Christian Science Monitor
As I finished this post, I came across an interview with an actress who appears in some of the footage given to Gawker. It goes a long way to clearing up some of the mystery, though not entirely.
Cindy Lee Garcia tells the website that she was hired last summer for a small part in a movie she was told would be called "Desert Warriors," about life in Egypt 2,000 years ago (Islam is about 1,400 years old).
She told Gawker "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 Muhammed or Muslims or anything and that, according to Gawker, "In the script and during the shooting, nothing indicated the controversial nature of the final product. Muhammed wasn't even called Muhammed; he was "Master George," Garcia said. The words Muhammed were dubbed over in post-production, as were essentially all other offensive references to Islam and Muhammed. Garcia said that there was a man who identified as "Bacile" on set, but that he was Egyptian and frequently spoke Arabic.
The online 14-minute clip of a purportedly anti-Islamic movie that sparked protests at the US embassy in Cairo and and the US consulate in Benghazi, Libya is now looking like it could have been ginned up by someone sitting a basement with cheap dubbing software.
Full credit goes to Sarah Abdurrahman at On the Media and Rosie Grey at Buzzfed who appear to be the first to highlight (there may be others, but they're the ones who caught my eye) the fact that almost every instance of language referring to Islam or Muhammad in the film has been dubbed in. That is, mouths are mouthing but the words you're hearing don't match.
There have already been a bunch of lies associated with the alleged film. A man named "Sam Bacile" was identified as being the writer and producer. He claimed to be an Israeli citizen. The Israelis say they have no record of him. He claimed to have spent $5 million on the movie. The clip online doesn't look like even $100,000 was spent. There is no record of a "Sam Bacile" living in California, and his strange insistence on the fact that he was Jewish and that he had exclusively Jewish funders for his film in an interview with the Associated Press now looks like something of a red flag.
The one verifiable person involved in this strange tale so far is Steve Klein, an evangelical Christian and anti-Islamic activist with ties to militia groups and a Coptic Christian satellite TV station based in California. Klein told Jeffrey Goldberg at The Atlantic earlier today that he was a consultant on the film, that "Sam Bacile," was a pseudonym, that the person behind the name probably isn't Jewish, and he didn't know the real name of the man. He doesn't know the name of someone he worked on a movie with? Yet another strange, credulity-stretching claim.
Now comes the part with the compelling case of no movie at all.