STAR WARS Actor Ahmed Best Talks His Journey Bringing Jar Jar Binks to Life and the Shocking Fan Response

Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace came out in theaters 25 years ago, and from high highs to low lows, actor Ahmed Best is able to reflect on the long road that led him to the controversial role of Jar Jar Binks, and beyond, while dealing with the initial backlash and eventual love from fans decades later.

Best spoke to People about the role and described the hiring process for the highly secretive and highly anticipated project. She was on tour with the Stomp dance troupe in 1997 when a casting director offered an audition at Lucasfilm’s Skywalker Ranch. she won both the physical and vocal roles.

She debuted her character’s voice during a table read with her castmates – Liam Neeson, Jake Lloyd, Ewan McGregor, Natalie Portman and other.

“This was the first time I performed the voice of Jar Jar in front of people. And to be honest, I didn’t know if I would during that reading or not. I thought, “I might do this, I might not.” And as I read the first few pages, I think, ‘Am I going to do this voice? I don’t do this voice? What should I do?

“Liam has this Irish, Mid-Atlantic, beautifully resonant voice that will melt you. Do you know what I’m saying? So I thought, “They all seem so good.” Am I going to do this voice or not?’ And then I saw the character’s name come up and I was like, ‘F— it.’ And I just do it. And everyone in the room goes crazy for it. So I thought, “OK, that’s good.” I took it out. I should be here now.’”

Best went back and forth from New York to Industrial Light & Magic studios in San Francisco for two years to complete the CGI for the role. He got along with everyone along the way.

“Everyone was respected and no one was bigger than the job. And I think that was the ethos we adopted in making the prequels. Star Wars will always be the thing. This is the thing we are working on. So as much as we can make this world believable, these characters believable, these situations believable, that’s what we’re going to be. We will not be stars above Star Wars. There’s nothing bigger than Star Wars. And I think that’s what made our cast really, really special.

The cast was “in our little bubble” during filming, he said.

“So when you get out of that bubble, you’re like, ‘Oh man, everyone’s going to appreciate what we just did, because if you feel like we felt when we were creating it, it’s going to be amazing. But there were already some preconceived ideas about it, and there’s already this hatred simmering online. She was already talking about it before the film even came out.”

The online hate only grew after the film’s release in May 1999. It came not just for Jar Jar as a character, but also for Best, who received death threats for his performance.

“It wasn’t really easy. I was very young. I was 26 years old. And it’s hard to have the idea that the thing that you’ve worked for all your life, you finally get it and you’re finally in the big leagues and at the highest level of the game, and you get to hold your ground. . All these years you’ve been thinking, “I belong at the top of the game.” I belong to the highest level. And then suddenly people pull the ground from under your feet. And I thought, “What’s happening now?” My career began and ended. I didn’t know what to do, and unfortunately there wasn’t really anyone who could help me, because it was a very unique position; this has never happened before in history,” Best said.

“Especially with the Internet component. Now there is an entire field of psychology based on it. But what do I say to a psychologist at the moment? I just tried to do the best job I could do. But George [Lucas] he is untouchable and everyone was untouchable. Who wasn’t untouchable? Me. Everyone came to me.

Best had previously admitted that he thought about taking his own life early one morning on the Brooklyn Bridge.

“I didn’t want to hurt my family like that,” Best now shares. “So it was something bigger than me that made me leave. I was still lost. I still couldn’t find my balance and felt the injustice of it all. How could I accomplish such a wonderful thing and then nothing? Nothing. I couldn’t wait to continue. I wanted to continue this work. I wanted to keep moving in this direction and see what CGI could turn into.”

Casting directors often thought that Jar Jar’s character was computer-generated, and Best had to fight against this. “I was carrying this weight that was hard to shake.”

Better says Jar Jar’s Star Wars the role diminished and disappeared in the following two prequels, especially the 2005 ones Revenge of the Sith. After all, like many fans, he hopes to discover Jar Jar’s fate sooner or later.

“I just wish there was a really good conclusion, just to know what happened to Jar Jar. And then I don’t think it has to be tragic,” Best says.

The best was good after all this. He has worked as an adjunct professor at USC and appeared on Disney+’s Star Wars series The Mandalorian, and is the father of a 15-year-old son who “gets all my attention.”

Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace is now in theaters ahead of its 25th anniversary on May 19.

via: Deadline

by Jessica Fisher
Source: Geek Tyrant

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