Monday, September 01, 2014


Transmission

Georgian Actress 'Shattered' Over Role In Anti-Islamic Film Frenzy

A Facebook photo of Georgian actress Anna Gurji
A Facebook photo of Georgian actress Anna Gurji

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Aspiring actress Anna Giorgobiani finally made the giant leap to Hollywood from her native Tbilisi. Now, with her excitement over landing a role in an "indie feature film" turned to disgust, the 21-year-old Georgian finds herself at the center of fundamentalist Muslim outrage that has sparked protests around the world and left more than a dozen people dead.

Cast members say the amateurish "Innocence of Muslims" was heavily dubbed and edited without their knowledge to mock Islam and the Prophet Muhammad.

It also appears to feature Anna Gurji (as Anna Giorgobiani is known in the business) chasing a man -- who is either "George" or "Muhammad," depending on your perspective -- around a tent with a shoe (at the 13-minute mark in the film's trailer on YouTube).

On September 17, English writer and comic-book artist Neil Gaiman published "A Letter from a Scared Actress," which Gurji is said to have sent him a few days ago.

In the emotionally charged message, Gurji claims that she auditioned in the summer of 2011 for the role of "Hilary" in a movie that the producers told her was called "Desert Warrior." Consistent with an open letter from the cast members from last week, Gurji writes that the actors were led to believe they were filming an adventure drama about a tribe in ancient Egypt. There was no "Muhammad" or suggestion of blasphemy until the slipshod dubbing was added after filming, they say.

Gurji writes that she is "shattered" and "shocked" to see people killed over the movie:

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

As Gurji describes it, her character was a young girl sold against her will to a tribal leader known as "George." She was led to believe that the movie was about tribes in ancient Egypt competing to find a comet with supernatural powers that had fallen in the desert.

Gurji, who grew up in Georgia and witnessed the August 2008 Georgia-Russia war, also speaks in the letter of the difficulty in coming to the United States and succeeding as an actress.

She says she was excited when she heard that she got the supporting role in an "indie feature film."

The film is believed to have been made by a small group of extremist Christians in the United States, including 56-year-old white-collar criminal Nakoula Basseley Nakoula.

Ironically, Gurji says that only recently she sat down with her father and wrote a script about peace:

"A few months ago, I just finished writing a script with my father about world peace, which helped me understand something -- forgive and care for your enemy. Then, I understood that there is a bigger reason for acting. When we act, we help people see all different characters that exist. When people see about all these different characters, they start to understand them."

Early last week, another actress from "Innocence of Muslims," Cindy Lee Garcia, told Gawker that she also believed she was acting in a movie about ancient Egypt. Some reports, including by "Time" magazine, suggest a soft-core porn director called Alan Roberts -- which "may or may not be a pseudonym" -- was involved in the making of the film.

Gurji says that while she fears for her safety, she has still not gone into hiding. Interfax reports that her sister told Georgian TV station Rustavi 2 that Gurji is being protected by bodyguards.

Gurji has previously appeared in several commercials and a documentary. But her first major role was at the age of 14 in the 2006 feature film "If This Day Never Happened."

Six years later, she began her desperate letter to Gaiman:

"Something very bad happened."

-- Deana Kjuka
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Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Demetrius Minneapolis from: My House
September 18, 2012 20:00
Can the author please explain what is more "extremist" - someone making a still fully unseen movie that is harsh to a particular religion, or outright violent acts with burning, beatings, killings etc.
Why is it that Christianity can be challenged and ridiculed until the cows come home, but disparaging material about a islam is "extremist"?
Please Deana Kjuka, explain (or anyone else from RFE) because I would like an explanation of your wording.
In Response

by: Eugenio from: Vienna
September 19, 2012 08:32
Demetrius, the "still fully unseen movie" was nothing more but a trigger that gave people ALL OVER THE WORLD a chance to express one of the most intimate feeling shared by 90 per cent of the world population: hatred towards the US and everything that you, Beavuses and Buttheads, represent and stand for.
And as usual, instead of sitting down for a second and trying to figure out why it is that you, guys, are so universally despised, you need to look for "extremism" or for "explanations" somewhere else. No, Demetrius, just look into the mirror and you will see there the reason for which your ambassadors gets burned alive and why your banners get desecrated ALL OVER THE WORLD.
In Response

by: Saber
September 19, 2012 14:06
In Afghanistan, korans were burned and there were riots. Dozens were killed. But when 20 people were murdered in their beds by US soldier, nobody protested. I do not understand.
In Response

by: Demetrius Minneapolis from: My House
September 19, 2012 21:13
Where are the nation to nation, Iran to Morroco protests at the Syrian embassies and consulates? You anti-Americans zealots have a planet sized chip on your shoulders.

Eugenio, don't you see EVERYTHING is a trigger to these people. They are professional victims. I have to deal with Jesus Christ is a jar of urine so get over yourself.

And guess what, we Americans are getting just as tired of the rest of you. We are sick of paying tens of millions of dollars to back this project or funding of that lark. Perhaps the isolationists I was ignoring for years were correct and I was wrong.

If you dislike everything we stand for, I sure as hell hope you wish to be ruled by a monarchy or dictatorship. I really hope you can live without technology and our funding. Funny, last time I was in Vienna, I didn't run into many like you Eugenio, thank the Lord.
In Response

by: Lex Slivitskij from: New York
September 20, 2012 20:24
To Demetrius: the answer is that Christian culture is a culture of guilt and forgiveness, and therefore the Christians are taught to forgive their enemies, an act which is seen as virtuous. Does not always work in real life if you remember the Holy Inquisition. As far as the violence, would you approach a young man and exersize your right to free speech by insulting his mother or wife? Would you say it is likely he will punch you in your face? Do you understand the analogy? One persona's right to free speech does not mean that the other person has to accept the insults and offences. I am really puzzled that everybody is surprised with Muslim's reaction. They are pissed off big time because somebody whom they very much respect and love has been maliciously attacked and insulted.

by: Konstantin from: Los Angeles
September 20, 2012 02:34
The movie was, I am absolutly sure, ordered by Russia.
They and their sometime supporter "Her" let no Georgians
Often to go to USA, staffed by imperial resurecting Prussia,
Brits and Germanics, replace Americans by their own faces.
Only be plagiarised, exploited, used to hate Georgian nation.

And when Eugenio say 90% of World's population hate USA,
He also meant hate Stalin and "Parliament of Nationalities",
And the non-Russian nations, sure Georgians - any play
Of hate must dragg to it Georgians - like that actress,
Or a Russian with a Georgian name in Aim's case.

World hate rich and even more the bombastic USA
That bombs by order to its proxies, like Shvartckof,
Or Litvak, or Ambassador Kohen, or Rashka's-CIA,
That plagio-killing me and already killed my mother,
As Rashka offer World shear of our land and blood.

by: Vakhtang from: Moscow
September 20, 2012 03:34
Why is not anyone talking about insulting the feelings of atheists?

We all know about the folk tales of different nations:
Russian Folk Tales-"talking pike" or "Ivan the fool"
Jewish folk tales-"Bible"
Jordanian folk tales-"Koran"...

Today obscurantists claims that all the events described in these tales were true..You can raise the dead, or fly through the sky waving with your hands...and the one who does not believe it must die-))))..at the same time expressing you muslim outrage, you can rob and kill...
fanatics are dangerous to civilization
for centuries the faithful persecuted atheists and killed..it is time to separate completely from the normal people obscurantists who is sick in the head... create self-defense units of atheists to protect people from obscurantists.....

In Response

by: Katherine from: Boston
September 20, 2012 14:34
Exactly right, Vakhtang! No one notices that religious people all over the world oppress, attack, and offend atheists, and then we are supposed to be so respectful of these religious people's fairy tales? Atheist self-defense units are a good idea, we need them!

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Written by RFE/RL editors and correspondents, Transmission serves up news, comment, and the odd silly dictator story. While our primary concern is with foreign policy, Transmission is also a place for the ideas -- some serious, some irreverent -- that bubble up from our bureaus. The name recognizes RFE/RL's role as a surrogate broadcaster to places without free media. You can write us at transmission+rferl.org

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