Jar Jar Binks actor Ahmed Best sat down in a Skype interview and talked about how George Lucas brought him on board the Star Wars franchise, according to io9. The interview was put together by YouTuber Jamie Stangroom on his channel entitled “These Are The Actors You’re Looking For.” It’s a newly found channel just weeks old, and it’s about a “nerds [sic] quest” to reach out to the old-school actors of Star Wars.
The prequels weren’t apparently the most favored, and Jar Jar Binks was particularly a highly disliked character. A commenter from io9 expressed that if he had been done in small doses as an obscure character, he probably wouldn’t have had a reputation as he does even up until now that Star Wars The Force Awakens has been released.
“Jar-Jar was by no means the worst thing about the prequels. He was just one of the many things there was too-much of. Had there been exactly three minutes of Jar-Jar nobody would care today.”
In comparison to Serkis’ cat-hacking-up-a-furball inspiration to bring about Golem’s voice in Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, Ahmed said that his inspiration for Jar Jar Binks was when he used to read children’s stories to the cousins in his family. He said that it was basically his “generic little kid voice” that he did as he read the dialogue of the stories, which was later on deemed appropriate for Star Wars.
The other fans didn’t like Jar Jar because Ahmed thought that since the character was more geared towards children, “they felt quite a bit condescended to.”
Even Andy Serkis and Conan O’Brien poked fun at Jar Jar, talking about rumors of Serkis playing an evil Binks.
Now, Best was at first intended to just be the “physicality” of Binks per his comments on YouTube, but it turned out that he wound up voicing the character after sending in a few renditions of his own voice to be looked over by Lucas, and he was eventually chosen for the Star Wars movie prequels.
Ahmed went on to talk about how much of a challenge it was in Star Wars to voice the character considering there was no “template” to work from and how they had to go from scratch to “pioneer” the character.
“One of the biggest reasons I took it was because of the challenge of it—there was no Andy Serkis and Gollum, Navi from Avatar, Martians, John Carter. So I was kind of 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 of everyone.”
The Binks actor also said he was surprised about the backlash of negative criticism his character received, considering that he put all his being into the role only to have it receive such negative reviews. Best couldn’t help but be impacted by it. It’s not uncommon for most actors to do their best and take pride in what they do in their craft, and to have this happen can be a let down.
“When your work is criticized negatively, you fell a little bit of a hit.”
The character is absent in the latest installment of the franchise, but J.J. Abrams did express that he had thought about having Jar Jar’s skeletal remains act as an Easter egg in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, according to NME.
“I have a thought about putting Jar Jar Binks’s bones in the desert there. I’m serious! Only three people will notice, but they’ll love it.”
To see the Jar Jar-less Star Wars: The Force Awakens movie, it’s currently out in theaters. So, does it not look like Abrams did a complete opposite of a backlash?
[Photo by David McNew/Getty Images Entertainment]