Ian McKellen does “Baby Got Back” (sort of)

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Fans of Gandalf, Magneto and Sir Leigh Teabing, take note.

Unknown actor Hunter Davis does an amazingly precise impression of Sir Ian McKellen. Naturally, with this sort of talent, why not use it to make it appear as though Sir Ian McKellen is singing “Baby Got Back” by the wonderful Sir Mix-A-Lot? Shown to me by a good friend, this two-minute video is my favorite gem from this past week.

I guess what gets me the most about this video is that Davis matches the inflection and cadence of McKellen’s voice perfectly. In some instances, Davis goes so far as to even match his facial expressions. McKellen, a famous Shakespearean actor in Great Britain, is known for his great stage presence and deep transformation into every character he plays, traits that this video reflects.

Davis is not singing “Baby Got Back” in this video but is rather performing the lyrics in the vein of an epic Shakespearean monologue. Imagining the 73-year-old McKellen eloquently dictating the lyrics of this song, which include “my homeboys tried to warn me, but that butt you got makes me so horny,” made this video almost unbearable to watch the first go-around. I was laughing so hysterically, tears were flowing from my eyes, and my stomach felt like it was being constricted.

Part of the laughter came from the irony that McKellen is an aged white, gay male, and the lyrics are those of a rather aroused heterosexual, African-American rapper. Perhaps this vast disparity is what makes this video so great.

If this video is supposed to be an interpretation of any of McKellen’s characters, Gandalf sticks out primarily. For me, the character in this video does not come across as the passionate, strong and courageous Gandalf the White, who fervently throws the weight of his power towards the cause of protecting Frodo. Rather, he seems more like the wise, knowledgeable and caring Gandalf the Grey, who counsels Frodo before his journey.

One scene in particular – where Gandalf recounts the story of the nine rings of power and the One Ring to Frodo – somehow came to mind while watching this video.  The way Davis (as McKellen) speaks the infamous lyrics perfectly correlates with the way Gandalf intricately recounts the tale to Frodo. Davis’s facial expressions pair uncannily with the mystery, terror and awe Gandalf shows in his face.

Perhaps the most perfect parallel is between Gandalf’s account of the rhyme, “One Ring to rule them all/One Ring to find them/One Ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them,” and the line, “I like big butts, and I cannot lie/You other brothers can’t deny.” Just look at the similarities between the two. Okay, so the messages are a little off, but Davis and Gandalf’s inflections are almost identical.

Sir Ian McKellen is quite the person to try to mimic, but Hunter Davis pulls it off splendidly.

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