Few names and/or characters in film history elicit a collective groan more than Jar Jar Binks. The number of blog posts, Web pages and Facebook groups dedicated to the universally loathed "Star Wars" character is staggering. As such, the actor who portrayed the clumsy Gungan, Ahmed Best, has been dealing with the brunt of all that negative energy ever since "Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace" was released in 1999.
MTV News recently caught up with the actor to discuss his thoughts on Jar Jar and whether the public has finally been able to embrace the character.
"A little bit, it has changed," Best admitted. "Because of all the negative press that was so ubiquitous at the time, it was very challenging for me to go anywhere and talk about it, because I always felt like I was defending the character. I never really saw what everyone else was seeing because I was too close.
"I didn't have a good objective perspective on what everybody was saying," he said. "As the years have gone by, I think what everyone said back then, I think they're realizing it was a bit ridiculous. It was a little extreme. Now the kids who were kids are now adults. They are just like, 'What the hell is the problem?' "
Best equated the onslaught of Jar Jar hate to that of the Ewoks from "Return of the Jedi."
"Everybody had a problem with the Ewoks," he recalled. " 'Who were these teddy bears?' It was in the media: 'Oh, the Ewoks, they ruined the movie.' And I remember being a kid and going, 'What's wrong with the Ewoks?' I kinda dig Ewoks. They're cute, they had a cartoon. Wicket was cool. I mean, they're little furry creatures from the planet Endor. I think I've gone that way as far as the Jar Jar thing. Everybody is just like, 'I don't get it. What's the big deal now?' So I think that's good. The perception of the character has changed a lot out there in popular culture. I think it's a positive thing."
The 37-year-old went on to say that while the more devout "Star Wars" fans have asked him how he could have accepted the role in the first place, he has maintained that the offer was impossible to refuse.
"There's always been a contingent of 'Star Wars' fans that wants it to be very — almost religious," he said. "You know what I mean? A guy said to me one time, 'Why didn't you just say no to the character? Why didn't you just say no?' OK, so let me get this straight. George Lucas comes out of a 20-year retirement, finds me onstage, says, 'You know what? I want to put my faith in you and create something that I've never done before. Are you up to the challenge? Possibly change your life?' I would say, 'Nah.' I don't think so. 'No, I got some other sh-- that I got to do in my studio apartment in Brooklyn.' You crazy? Of course I'm not going to say no."
What do you think of Best's thoughts? For the Jar Jar haters, has your contempt subsided yet? Let us know in the comments!
Check out everything we've got on "Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace."
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