A Letter From A Scared Actress
A few years ago, a message came in to this website on the FAQ line from a young actress from Georgia (the one from the former USSR, not the State with Atlanta in it) called Anna Gurji. She sent a link to her webpage and to films she had made in Georgia, and told me she was a fan, and if she ever came to the US, she would want to be in something of mine.
She made it to the US, and although she has never been in something of mine, she read the female lead (with Wil Wheaton as the male lead) in the first read-through of Michael Reaves’ film BLOOD KISS. I was not there as a writer. I was there because I will actually act in it, playing a Hollywood director with a dark secret. So I’ve acted with Anna and spent time with her. She’s a good sort.
She wrote to me the other day, worried.
She said,Something very bad happened. I desperately need everyone’s help right now.I don’t know how to start writing this letter. It’s crazy, the world is.. life.. I’m so shattered right now, I don’t know.. I feel very dead inside.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.I really need your advice right now? How can I have my voice shown to the world so that I can tell them the real story.All these media people that keep calling me are using my real story and then chopping or manipulating the interview the way they want to.I don’t know what to do. It’s very scary, Neil.
I told her to write her story for me, to say what she wanted, and I would put it up here for her, as she wrote it, to get her message to the world. The best weapon against lies is the truth, after all.
So here’s what Anna knows about the truth:Everyone who wishes to find out the truth about the movie now known as theInnocence of Muslims, please read the letter below. I, Anna Gurji, as one of the supporting actresses in the film will share with you what really happened.A year ago, in the summer of 2011, I submitted my materials to various projects on the Explore Talent web-site. I received a call from the casting director of the movie “Desert Warrior”, and my audition date was scheduled. I auditioned for the role of Hilary. Several days later, I was informed that I got a callback. I did the callback. Several days later, I was informed that I landed the role of Hilary in the movie called “Desert Warrior”.The filming of the movie was done in August of 2011. We were filming the movie in a studio warehouse with a green screen in Duarte, CA. The project was a low budget, independent feature movie.The filming of the movie was beginning soon after the day I was told I got a role. The script was not sent to me. When I got to the set, I was merely provided with the scenes my character was in.I did not consider this to be an unusual thing, seeing as I have had an experience with something like this before. I did a movie once where the script was written in a foreign language and only my parts were translated into English and accordingly, I was provided with my scenes only. Having experienced that, I thought the same thing was happening with “Desert Warrior”. Aware of the fact that the supposed producer and the script-writer of the movie (known as Sam Bassil) was a foreigner (thanks to his accent), I thought that the original script was written in his native tongue and that not all scenes were translated into English. Also, the filming dates of the movie had to be rescheduled last minute to fit my schedule (I had other films to do right after the “Desert Warrior” outside CA). Because of this rushed rearrangements, I thought that the production first forgot and then did not consider it necessary to send me the script, and again - I did not find this unusual, since I knew what role I had, I knew about my character and I knew about the story of the film.My character Hilary was a young girl who is sold (against her own free will) by her parents to a tribe leader known as GEORGE. She is one of his (most likely, the youngest) brides in the movie.The film was about a comet falling into a desert and different tribes in ancient Egypt fighting to acquire it for they deemed that the comet possessed some supernatural powers.The movie that we were doing in Duarte was called “Desert Warrior” and it was a fictional adventure drama. The character GEORGE was a leader of one of those tribes fighting for the comet.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”.The atmosphere at the set was as friendly as possible. We all knew that we were doing an adventure drama for a very low budget financing. The director Alan Roberts even had plans that with this low budget product he would be able to get some more money to make a good quality version (by shooting it in the real desert and having better product in every category) of the “Desert Warrior”.I had interactions with the man known as Sam Bassil on the set. He was very amiable, respectful, soft-spoken, always making sure that the filming was running smoothly and everyone was satisfied. He even told me the premiere of the movie was going to happen sometime soon and I would get a good amount of tickets to invite my friends and family.I have never been informed about the premiere after that (if it ever happened) and have not seen the final product (if there is any, except for the short one that is uploaded online).People ask what’s my reaction after seeing that.Shock.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.I feel shattered.(There’s a better formatted version of this on my website, at http://journal.neilgaiman.com/2012/09/a-letter-from-scared-actress.html)
Highly recommended to read, horrible lies that everyone should know about.
Also, so glad that Neil knows about my country and Georgian fans)
I always say that if I ever had to fill in a questionnaire and answer “Why do you want to immigrate?” I’d put “THEY DON’T SHIP ANYTHING HERE! AND 50% IS LOST AND FOR OTHER 50% YOU HAVE TO WAIT A ZILLION YEARS!” as my answer. T__T
Yeah but they may not be allowed to use your Georgian Visa card.
I contacted them about that yesterday and they weren’t much of a help.
Buying tea has never been this bloody hard xD
Oh well… *getsoverit*
That awkward moment when the whole world is judging you by your presenter
Most of them hated him, but some people even compared him to monks from Doctor Who and Jedis.
If only.. :S
Anri, that was weird, i can’t handle reading all this stuff now.
Andrew Lane’s ‘Young Sherlock Holmes’ event in Tbilisi
[WARNING: ‘FOOLISH, EXCITED RAMBLINGS OF SANI EVANS’ ALERT]
So, as I posted several days ago, English writer Andrew Lane was going to visit Georgia to promote his book series “Young Sherlock Holmes” this week.
Our local publisher “ბაკურ სულაკაურის გამომცემლობა” translated first part of series: ‘Death Cloud’ in Georgian so it was a book presentation as well. When I fist heard about the event, I was very excited, cos I loved Torchwood Novel - Slow Decay that Andy wrote and I couldn’t believe that he was actually going to visit Tbilisi, that kind of stuff doesn’t really happen here often )))
So I went today at the event and after he gave a speech, readers had a chance to ask questions and me and Sally were the only ones who could actually understand English so I told him that we were Whovians and really glad that he visited, loved his TWD work as well as Sherlock series and was going to read ‘Red Leech’ and ‘Black ice’ and asked if he was going to write any more TWD novels or maybe do Radio Dramas. He was very happy to see that somebody actually cared, cos mostly audience had no clue what was going on and most of them were there for the painting contest XD
Later, Mr. Lane had to choose winners from best painting and best question, I thought that he would choose something related to Sherlock, I enjoyed the book very much, but had no good ideas to ask, so I choose Doctor Who subject instead. So Mr. Andy said that he was glad somebody had read his book in English, so he chose me ♥ I was so excited and embarrassed and stuff, you know, everybody staring at you and stuff, I greeted him and he also made a remark about my Union Jack t-shirt xD They gave me my prize that I won, a pool and spa membership and he signed my book, we chatted some more about Doctor Who and how he had done some work for Torchwood magazine, I explained that I couldn’t subscribe to magazine from Georgia, also the fact that I’d have let him sign my ‘Slow Decay’ copy, but I only had an audiobook, so that was a shame. But in overall it was such a fun event, I think that he enjoyed our presence as much as we did, kind of cheered each other, had a wonderful time :] He promised to visit again if he could for next series translations, which is gonna be awesome!
Gosh, I’m so thrilled, I can’t believe I met the actual author and we spoke and stuff, so excited about tonight. I know you think it’s no big deal and don’t want to listen to my foolish rambling, but this doesn’t happen very often, so it made my day ♥
a message from Anonymous
My Native Language - Georgian