This story first appeared in the Sept. 28 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.
Innocence of Muslims is perhaps the most famous movie in the world, but no one seems to have seen it. Maybe that's because it doesn't exist beyond the muddled 14-minute "trailer" on YouTube that has prompted anti-American violence in the Middle East.
The film's writer, Sam Bacile, aka Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, initially said he created a full-length movie that screened at the Vine Theatre in Hollywood under the title The Innocence of Bin Laden. But a theater employee told the Los Angeles Times no one attended the screening, nor did the employee watch the movie.
And a YouTube video called "Innocence of Muslims 74 Min" is merely the same 14 minutes looped over and over. One of the actors, Cindy Lee Garcia, tells THR that Nakoula boasted he was making a two-hour action epic, though Garcia has seen nothing beyond the infamous 14 minutes. "The movie doesn't exist," says Marium Mohiuddin of the Muslim Public Affairs Council, which advises Hollywood producers on how to portray Muslims accurately. "We've been looking hard for a full movie, and we haven't found anything."
But whether it's real doesn't seem to matter to the rioting radicals because not only are they convinced there is such a movie, "there's a complete misconception that this is a major Hollywood project and not a poorly thrown-together video," adds Mohiuddin.
"They're used to government-sanctioned entertainment, so they think that this has been sanctioned by the U.S. government, which makes sense to them because they believe Americans mistreat Muslims who live in America."