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Thursday, 31 January, 2002, 14:42 GMT
Anti-terror director dressed as Bin Laden
Edward Furlong in American History X
American History X was Kaye's first feature
A British director who has made two anti-terrorism TV adverts for the White House also performed comedy routines dressed as Osama Bin Laden following the 11 September attacks.

UK-born film-maker Tony Kaye has made two 30-second adverts to be shown during the most-watched event on US TV, the Super Bowl.

He is considered to be one of the brightest but most eccentric talents in the ad industry, and is also the man behind neo-Nazi movie American History X.

The real thing: Kaye says people should be able to laugh at Bin Laden
The real thing: Kaye says people should be able to laugh at Bin Laden
But as well as directing, he has performed a comedy routine dressed as the al-Qaeda leader in New York clubs since the 11 September attacks.

That did not deter the White House, who chose him for their biggest ever purchase of ads for a single event, with each slot reportedly costing $1.6m (1.13m).

Kaye's ads, filmed in New York in January, will warn viewers that the sale of illegal drugs may go to fuel international terrorism.

His Bin Laden impersonations were inspired by a desire to ridicule the world's most wanted man, Kaye has said.

"When I saw him on CNN with a microphone I thought it was funny," he told industry magazine Ad Age.

"I thought he looked like an idiot, and I thought that would work on the stage of a comedy club."

Public service

Kaye, who describes himself as an artist as well as a director, has compared his routine to Charlie Chaplin's comic performance as Hitler in The Great Dictator, saying people should be able to laugh at Bin Laden.

He also starred as a sleeping, snoring Bin Laden in a 30-second clip at a recent short film festival in Los Angeles.

Kaye has previously done public service ads for the National Holocaust Museum and the Partnership for a Drug-Free America as well as the UK's End Child Prostitution, Pornography and Trafficking group.

Commercial clients have included Nike, Reebok, Volvo and Mercedes, British Airways and Enron with a now infamous spot featuring a man in a metal suit.

The Super Bowl is being held on Sunday
The Super Bowl is being held on Sunday
He launched his feature film career in 1998 with American History X - but that ended in a huge row between the director and film company New Line Studios and star Edward Norton.

New Line Studios handed control of the film to Norton after they said Kaye was running late and over budget.

Kaye retaliated with legal action seeking $200m (125m) damages and to get his name removed from the credits, saying he wanted to be referred to as Humpty Dumpty. But he lost the case in a LA court.

He is a friend of Marlon Brando and recently closed his London office and signed up with Ridley Scott's RSA Films.

His anti-terrorism ads will be seen by an estimated 80 million people during the Super Bowl on Sunday, 3 February.

They were commissioned by the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy.

See also:

28 Jan 02 | TV and Radio
Britney to star in Super Bowl ads
29 Jan 02 | US Sport
New Orleans on alert
07 Dec 01 | Showbiz
Hollywood execs in 'war summit'
13 Nov 01 | TV and Radio
The US media at war
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