Jar Jar Binks actor reveals true devastating effect of public backlash
HE’S perhaps the most-hated character in the Star Wars universe – and the audience backlash towards Jar Jar Binks took a heavy toll on the actor who played him.
Binks, who featured heavily in 1999’s The Phantom Menace, drew dismal reactions from fans, many of whom found his cartoonish, childlike manner grating.
He also saw Star Wars director George Lucas cop allegations of racism, as many viewers viewed the character as a negative Rastafarian racial stereotype.
In what was only his second film role, actor Ahmed Best provided the voice and motion capture movements for the reviled space alien.
Best posted a photo to Twitter today, showing he and his young son on top of a bridge. The caption provides a startling look at just how much the Jar Jar Binks backlash affected him.
“20 years next year I faced a media backlash that still affects my career today. This was the place I almost ended my life. It’s still hard to talk about. I survived and now this little guy is my gift for survival,” Best wrote, asking his followers whether the tale would make for a good one-man show.
20 years next year I faced a media backlash that still affects my career today. This was the place I almost ended my life. It’s still hard to talk about. I survived and now this little guy is my gift for survival. Would this be a good story for my solo show? Lemme know. pic.twitter.com/NvVnImoJ7N– Ahmed BEst (@ahmedbest)
Many people – among them Star Wars: The Last Jedi director Rian Johnson – responded with words of encouragement.
“Lots of love to you Ahmed. I think there are many of us who’d get quite a lot from hearing your story,” wrote Johnson.
Ahmed Best, who voiced the much-loathed character, previously said the hate towards Jar Jar was “painful”.
“You put a lot of your own personality into it and you get emotionally and personally invested in the work that you do,” Best said in an interview posted to Youtube in 2016.
So when your work is criticised negatively you get a bit of a hit.”
“Star Wars was my first ‘most hated’ title in anything really. It was painful. 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.
“I was to be the template for this, so I was kinda 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 a surprise.”
Best said he understood why viewers reacted so strongly against the character – but it didn’t make the backlash hurt any less.
“When they see a character that’s purely comical, and purely for the children, they felt probably a bit condescended to,” he said.
Best isn’t the only Star Wars actor to suffer the wrath of the franchise’s famously vocal fans – The Last Jedi actress Kelly Marie Tran quit Instagram last month after suffering months of racist and sexist abuse on social media.
The Vietnamese-American actress starred as Resistance fighter Rose Tico in the 2017 film, but was subjected to abusive comments and harassment from some so-called fans, who took aim at her ethnicity and appearance.
Rian Johnson, has defended the actress, describing the trolls as “manbabies”.
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