The 80 cast and crew members involved in the making of the movie that has roiled much of the Islamic world said Wednesday they were "grossly misled" about its intent and expressed sorrow over the resulting violence.
"The entire cast and crew are extremely upset and feel taken advantage of by the producer," they said in a statement to CNN about the movie, "Innocence of Muslims."
"We are 100% not behind this film and were grossly misled about its intent and purpose," continued the statement, which was sent to CNN by a member of the production staff who asked not to be identified for security reasons. "We are shocked by the drastic rewrites of the script and lies that were told to all involved. We are deeply saddened by the tragedies that have occurred."
Four Americans, including U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens, were killed Tuesday in Libya amid a regional furor over the film, which mocks Islam's prophet.
A casting call published in July 2011 in Backstage magazine and in other publications for actors identifies the working title of the movie as "Desert Warrior" and describes it as a "historical Arabian Desert adventure film."
An actress in the film who asked not to be identified said the original script did not include a Prophet Mohammed character. She added that she and other actors complained that their lines had been changed.
The actress said she spoke Wednesday with the producer, who is identified in the advertisement as Sam Bassiel. "He said he wrote the script because he wants the Muslims to quit killing," she said. "I had no idea he was doing all this."
"I would never be involved in a film to ever hurt or bring harm to anybody," she told CNN. "This makes me sick to my stomach to think that I was involved in that movie that brought death to somebody else."
The actress said the character of Mohammed in the movie was identified as George when it was shot, and that she returned afterward and read other lines that may have been dubbed into the piece.
A member of the production staff who worked directly on the film and has a copy of the original script corroborated the actor's account, adding that it mentions neither Mohammed nor Islam.
The Wall Street Journal identified the filmmaker as Sam Bacile, an Israeli-American real estate developer. The Journal reported that, in its telephone interview with Bacile, he characterized his film as "a political effort to call attention to the hypocrisies of Islam."
"Islam is a cancer," he told the newspaper. "The movie is a political movie. It's not a religious movie."
CNN has not been able to contact Bacile and cannot verify that he made the movie. A CNN search of public records on Sam Bacile came up empty.
Israel's Foreign Ministry said it doesn't know who Bacile is.
"This guy is totally anonymous. At this point no one can confirm he holds Israeli citizenship and even if he did we are not involved," ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor said. "No Israeli institution, government department or office has any involvement in this. This guy acted on his own behalf."
In Egypt and Libya, mobs targeted U.S. missions and blamed America for the film. In the end, Stevens and three other Americans in the Libyan city of Benghazi were dead, although it was not clear whether that attack was solely incited by the film.
Consultant Steve Klein told CNN he worked with Bacile on the movie and said the filmmaker had gone into hiding.
"He's very depressed, and he's upset," Klein said Wednesday. "I talked to him this morning, and he said that he was very concerned for what happened to the ambassador."
Klein, however, said it was not the film's fault that protests had turned bloody.
Casting further doubt on the filmmaker's identity, The Atlantic quoted Klein as saying Sam Bacile is a pseudonym and "he did not know Bacile's real name." CNN could not immediately reach Klein for his response to that report.
An online trailer for the film depicts Islam as a fraudulent religion bent on getting rid of nonbelievers.
Cartoonish scenes show Mohammed as a womanizer, child molester and ruthless killer. Other scenes show security forces ordered to do nothing as rampaging Muslims destroy Christian homes, and a donkey anointed the first Muslim animal.
Many Muslims find any depiction of Mohammed to be offensive -- a Danish newspaper's publication in 2005 of Mohammed caricatures triggered riots -- and derogatory depictions of the prophet are considered by some to be worse.
"The film is offensive to the prophet and immoral," said Egyptian Prime Minister Hashem Kandil. "We call on the great people of Egypt to exercise restraint when expressing their anger."
The prime minister called on the United States to take legal action against the makers of the film, though it was not clear that it violates any U.S. law.