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Wednesday, 11 September, 2002, 17:31 GMT 18:31 UK
Belgians audition for Osama comedy
Actor Jos Teugels with director Rob Van Eyck
Actor Jos Teugels auditioned for director Rob Van Eyck
A Belgian film director has used the anniversary of the 11 September attacks to audition for bearded countrymen to play Osama Bin Laden in a new movie.

Rob Van Eyck is making a "black comedy" that will see Bin Laden seek asylum in Belgium before becoming European Union Commission President.

He said it was good to shock people through humour, and admitted that the timing of the auditions was a publicity stunt.


It's nothing to do with good taste

Raf Linmans
Budding actor
"It's the only day when you are going to get such media coverage. When I did the casting in May, no one came," Van Eyck said.

When asked whether holding the auditions on 11 September was in bad taste, he said: "It's not pleasant for the Americans, but every day people are killed in attacks."

He said the United States was incapable of laughing at themselves.

The film will be set in 2012, and Van Eyck, who is Flemish, will start filing it in 2003.

His low-budget films have a cult following in his home country.

Some budding Bin Ladens queued wearing turbans and robes.

Raf Linmans, 27, said he was not a serious actor and dismissed the stunt as a harmless piece of fun.

'Not serious'

"It's nothing to do with good taste," he said.

"I'm not serious about a real film career. Anyway when you watch Rob Van Eyck's films you realise that you don't need acting experience."

Another of those to apply for the role, Herman Durwael, 53, said: "I want to be involved to show what kind a bastard he [Bin Laden] really is, and the first reaction of the director was, it will be black humour and he won't be praised."

Bin Laden has previously been depicted when controversial rapper Eminem dressed up as the Islamic militant in a music video.

Bin Laden was also a central character in a film, as well as being a character in an action film, Death, Deceit and Destiny Aboard the Orient Express, in which a terrorist hijacks a train.


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