Four years ago, MTV devoted a segment of its True Life series to Muthana Mohmed, a 25-year-old Baghdad film student obsessed with the idea of going Hollywood. Among those who saw the episode was Liev Schreiber, then preparing to make his suitably serious directorial debut with Everything Is Illuminated. Schreiber gave Muthana a break and hired him to work on his set. He also contacted an MTV producer, who recommended Nina Davenport to document Muthana's education. Muthana arrives on location in the Czech Republic; an intern—and yet a star—he is put to work as an assistant gofer. Thus humiliated, Muthana complains to Davenport: "What the fuck?! The most important scene was rolling on the set while I was mixing the snacks!!" Schreiber imported Muthana to feel good about himself, while his production requires the kid to prepare vegan treats. And, contracted to produce a documentary, Davenport is no less needy than her subject. Meanwhile, Muthana's Baghdad friends urge him through video letters to stay out of Iraq. Not so easy: One producer actually tells Muthana to return to Baghdad, write a screenplay, and then call him in Hollywood.
Muthana, Frodo. Frodo, Muthana.
Runs at Northwest Film Forum, Fri., July 25–Thurs., July 31. Not rated. 92 minutes.