STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:
So we've heard the film clips. A bigger question is who is really producing that film. NPR's Carrie Kahn reports.
CARRIE KAHN, BYLINE: The movie was shot in Los Angeles County sometime last August, under the name "Desert Warriors." It's full of choppy dialogue, bad acting and scenes of a buffoonish Muhammad.
(SOUNDBITE OF MOVIE, "THE INNOCENCE OF MUSLIMS")
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: And this shall be the first Muslim animal. His name is Yafour. No, Yafour does not like the women.
KAHN: The head of the agency that coordinates filming in Los Angeles says he had no idea what the movie was about. Apparently, neither did the actors who made it. Several who had listed the film on their resumes declined requests from NPR for interviews, but in a statement to CNN, they said they were misled about the film's content. One actress told the website Gawker she's sick over it and complained to the producer. Just exactly who is the movie's producer is where this story gets very murky.
JIM HORN: There are a lot of aliases out there. He is probably a North African, an Arab.
KAHN: Jim Horn, a well known anti-Islam activist in Southern California, says he won't divulge the producer's real name, but he says he probably knows him. A man calling himself Sam Bacile, who claimed to be a Jewish California Real Estate Developer, phoned news outlets Wednesday saying he made the movie. But there are no records of a Sam Bacile. Jim Horn says of course he doesn't use his real name.
HORN: He can't do that, and I can't betray him that way.
KAHN: Horn frequently hands out anti-Islamic pamphlets at area high schools with an insurance salesman named Steve Klein. Klein, who has been linked to a militant Christian hate group, says he was a consultant on the movie and also knows the man called Bacile.
The Associated Press traced the call it received from Bacile back to a Los Angeles area man Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, who says he's a Coptic Christian and sympathizes with the movie. The man has several court judgments and tax liens against him, including a 2010 bank fraud conviction that recently landed him a two-year prison sentence.
Carrie Kahn, NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.