The cast and crew of George Clooney's new political drama SYRIANA smuggled water and sodas onto the set of the film because they didn't want to offend Muslims fasting for Ramadan.

The movie was shot in the Middle East during the religious festival, when Muslims fast during the day and insist on not consuming water or food from sunrise to sunset.

And director Stephen Gaghan felt he had to be sensitive to his hosts' cultural and religious rules.

He says, "We had to be very respectful of Ramadan and what that meant. It required hiding all of our own water drinking in 125-degree heat, when all you just really want is a drink of water.

"Some of the extras, who were Muslims, hadn't had anything since sun up and, instead of a lunch break, they're going out, spreading out a prayer mat and they're praying.

"You have this entire culture that's going out in the sun and praying and here's this huge western movie crew that's just like dying for a Diet Coke! The disparity between that is powerful.

"You're sitting in the air-conditioned car, leaning under the hood to get a sip of Diet Coke and these guys are up the hill under the tree praying. That's a powerful visual."