More than Wesley Crusher, more than Cousin Oliver, more than Poochie, there is no fictional character people like to crap on more than Jar-Jar Binks. Even all these years later, Jar-Jar is still the butt of jokes across the Internet. But how does the man who played him, Ahmed Best, feel about it?
A YouTube interview with Best offers a detailed look at how Jar-Jar came together, from Best’s perspective, up to confirming that Michael Jackson did, in fact, want to play Jar-Jar. Best originally took the job, beyond the money it offered, for the challenge of creating a fully digital character. As Best points out, there was no Andy Serkis at the time; this was a new frontier in acting. And the backlash, Best notes, hurt:
It’s work, and you take pride in your work like any, dare I say, craftsman. So when your work is criticized negatively, you feel a little bit of a hit.
The worst part is that Best says he knew things were going off the rails when the movie started screening for critics and he started getting pointed questions from critics, so he had to watch the hate train coming while he was tied to the tracks. That said, he’s pretty gracious towards fans, and has a hilarious story about the notorious Jar-Jar lollipop. There is a silver lining: Apparently the kids who grew up with Jar-Jar hate him a lot less than the adults who slow-roasted him when the movie came out.
Best seems philosophical, at this point, about his role, and he notes Jar-Jar probably won’t be coming back. Still, the next time you’re ready to trash Binks, spare a thought for Best. Perhaps he’s suffered enough.