VICE did the world a favor and interviewed Ahmed Best, the man who played Jar Jar Binks in the Star Wars prequels, because sometimes you just have to wonder: "What's that guy up to?" There's a lot of interesting stuff in the interview about Best's perspective on the role, criticism of the character, and George Lucas' directing habits (namely . In fact, Best kind of throws Lucas under the bus for many critcisms that fell on young actor Jake Lloyd (playing Anakin Skywalker).
But perhaps the most unflattering thing George Lucas does in the course of Best's account is passive-aggressively telling Michael Jackson he didn't get the role of Jar Jar by introducing Best to Jackson backstage at Wembley arena as his Jar-Jar. Apparently, Jackson wanted to do "prosthetics" and actually play the character (like in the "Thriller" video), where Lucas wanted to turn everything into a gleaming CGI turd. To be honest, Jackson avoided taking a huge L, but that doesn't mean there aren't a lot of sad things about this story. Let's rank them, from least sad to saddest.
5. Ahmed Best Getting His Feelings Hurt -- I have nothing against Ahmed Best, but having George Lucas be kind of a dick to you by introducing you are "Jar Jar" and embarrassing you in front of Michael Jackson is probably not that sad in the grand scheme of things, especially when it's part of the experience of joining massive, beloved franchise.
4. Michael Jackson Getting His Feelings Hurt -- I know what I just said! But, as weird and creepy and probably a bit predatory as Michael Jackson was, it's not hard to imagine his childlike enthusiasm for being Jar Jar, and how disappointing it might have been to find out via being introduced to the person who got the part instead.
3. The Fact That Michael Jackson Even Wanted to Play Jar Jar in the First Place -- I guess people were really excited about the Star Wars prequels at the time, but the thought that the dude who made "Billie Jean" and "Smooth Criminal" and "Thriller" and is low-key the best part of The Wiz would want to be involved as this weirdo caricature marketing opportunity is just a bummer.
2. Lucas' Worry that Michael Jackson Would Be "Bigger" Than the Widely Panned Phantom Menace -- Thank god there wasn't a pop sideshow to distract from the important work of art that was The Phantom Menace. Now all we have to pay attention to is the movie, and...
1. The Existence of the Star Wars Prequels -- More than enough words have already been spilled and time wasted thinking about how horrible these movies are (though if you want a refresher, the infamous 70-minute Phantom Menace review is still worth your time). Kids will basically love almost anything thrust in front of them. Accordingly, entertainers making art explicitly for children should feel a sense of obligation to give them something they can look fondly on as adults, rather than with a deep sense of shame that they wanted to see this on their seventh birthd -- wait, what were we talking about?