“Star Wars” fans are quick to rally against the prequel trilogy, and Jar Jar Binks often faces the brunt of that ridicule.
But behind the computer-generated character is a man: actor Ahmed Best. And he was living out his “Star Wars” dream until he became, in his words, “the most hated” “Star Wars” character, and then dealt with the “painful” backlash.
In a Skype interview with Jamie Stangroom for his “These Are the Actors You’re Looking For” YouTube series, Best said he wouldn’t reprise the role, even if he were asked by Disney, which now owns Lucasfilm.
“No, I think I’ve done my damage,” he said. “Yeah. I’m good with where I stand in the ‘Star Wars’ universe. I don’t need to do that.”
He added: “I’m not really interested in coming back. I did what I did, and I thought it was great, I thought it was fun, and now it’s time to move on.”
Best was originally cast to perform only the physical movements of the character, but after auditioning with a “generic little kid voice,” director George Lucas chose him to also voice the character.
He said that one of his motivations for taking the role was the challenge of portraying a computer-generated character at a time when that wasn’t common at all.
“There was no Andy Serkis or Gollum; there was no Na’vi from ‘Avatar.’ There were no Martians from ‘John Carter’ to kind of be the template for this,” he said. “So I was working with George to pioneer this new character form of acting and storytelling. On set, we were all just so focused on the challenge of it and having so much fun that the post-‘Star Wars’ stuff was kind of a surprise for everyone.”
The stars of the prequels, including Liam Neeson, Ewan McGregor, and Natalie Portman, have defended the character.
McGregor told Entertainment Weekly that criticism “shouldn’t fall on Ahmed’s shoulders because he did exactly what he was asked to do. He did it very, very well.”
Lucas has also been on the defensive and even said that if he could be any “Star Wars” character, he would be, yes, Jar Jar.
Watch the Skype interview below and catch Best reciting Neeson’s “Taken” speech as Jar Jar:
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