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Gandalf, Mr. Bean, 'Audition' for British Airways Safety Video
Can the biggest British stars impress this difficult director?
IMAGE YOUTUBE/ BRITISH AIRWAYS
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Aircraft safety is a serious matter and airlines mainly want to ensure that all the passengers and flight crew remain unharmed for the duration of the trip. But that’s no excuse for airline safety videos to be a bore. We've seen our fair share of seatbelt-buckling Hobbits from Air New Zealand and dancing flight attendants from Virgin America, but have never really thought about how the actors land their roles. British Airways, in partnership with Comic Relief, cleverly reimagines the audition process but fills in the parts with a roster of already famous faces, such as Ian McKellen and Gordon Ramsay.

Comedian Asim Chaudhry plays a consistently dissatisfied, sometimes condescending and clueless director who confuses the stars. Award-winning actor Chiwetel Ejiofor is mistaken for an amateur. Chef Gordon Ramsay, who usually portrays a hothead in his reality shows, is given the script for actress Joanna Lumley and thus ends each sentence with “sweetie.” Ian McKellen, who played Gandalf in The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies, and Warwick Davis demonstrate the use of the oxygen mask and Thandie Newton is praised immensely for delivering her line about how to locate emergency exits. But perhaps the most fun bit of the video is when Rowan Atkinson reprises his role as Mr. Bean and clumsily spills all the coins he donates to the Comic Relief foundation and fumbles as he picks them up in signature Mr. Bean fashion.

While the video mainly instructs passengers on safety measures while onboard the plane and pokes fun at some of the actors, the ending also urges passengers to donate whatever change they can spare to Comic Relief, a United Kingdom-based charity that aims to end global poverty. The fund’s goal is to raise £20 million by the year 2020.

The in-flight video will be shown in British Airway flights starting September.

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Hannah Lazatin
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