Do you think getting a role in a popular franchise like Star Wars is a dream come true for actors? It turns out that it’s not always the case. Ahmed Best, the on-screen Jar Jar Binks, spoke about the dark aspects of the fame brought to him by his performance in “The Phantom Menace.”
Ahmed Best, who portrayed on-screen Jar Jar Binks, opened up about the hate he faced after “The Phantom Menace.”
Jar Jar Binks first appeared in the Star Wars universe in Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace. Unfortunately, this character, to put it mildly, was not received positively by the fans. In the following years, Jar Jar became one of the most hated heroes. The accusations of racism were the most painful for Best. The actor, who never hid his pride in his African roots and acted as an advocate for black rights, was criticized for allegedly portraying the character in an exaggerated way, emphasizing stereotypes about ethnic minorities.
All this took a toll on the actor’s mental health. Speaking on The Guardian’s The Redemption of Jar Jar Binks podcast, Ahmed Best talked about his suicide attempt. One night, the actor planned to jump off the Brooklyn Bridge. “I’ll show you all. I’ll show you what you did to me. And when I’m gone, you’ll understand what I was going through,” he recalled the thoughts he had at the time.
Fortunately, before he could jump, a gust of wind came and nearly knocked him over. Best got scared and ran home.
Ahmed Best on his contribution to the development of cinematography
Despite the difficult emotions his performance in Star Wars was associated with, Best emphasizes that he is proud of his role. “I would like those who listen to us to be aware of my contribution to the history of cinema,” he said. “Culturally, black contributions have been erased from history, which is a great injustice. Until 1997, no black actor had played a major CGI character – and that’s a travesty. This has to change, and I hope people realize that.”
In 2023, Best returned to the Star Wars universe in a different role. In one of the episodes of the series “The Mandalorian,” he played the role of Jedi Master Kelleran Beq.