Michael Jackson Lobbied George Lucas to Play a Surprising ‘Star Wars’ Character

Michael Jackson As Jar Jar Binks
Kevin Mazur/WireImage

Michael Jackson almost played Jar Jar Binks — one of cinema’s most hated characters of all time — according to Ahmed Best, the actor who played the clumsy, arguably racist “Star Wars” creature.

The King of Pop apparently expressed an interest in playing the character using prosthetics and makeup, but George Lucas rejected the notion, Ahmed told Vice in a recent interview.

According to Best, he met Jackson backstage at a London concert, which he attended with Natalie Portman and Lucas. “George introduced me as ‘Jar Jar,’ and I was like, ‘That’s kind of weird,'” the actor said. Jackson drove off and the rest went to an after-party. “I’m having a drink with George, and I said, ‘Why did you introduce me as Jar Jar?’ He said, ‘Well, Michael wanted to do the part but he wanted to do it in prosthetics and makeup like ‘Thriller.'”

Lucas decided to make Binks entirely computer generated, and ultimately went with the previously unknown Best for the role. “My guess is ultimately Michael Jackson would have been bigger than the movie,” Best said, “and I don’t think he wanted that.”

Although Jackson’s would-be performance is sadly left to the imagination, Lucas may have saved the performer from embarrassment. In 2006 Binks topped a list of “most irksome” characters in movie history, and is generally despised by fans.

Still, Best has accepted the criticism of his character, and has come to terms with the public’s reception. “At the end of the day, it is the movie business, and if the character doesn’t work for the people who watch the movie then the character doesn’t work,” he told Vice. “I can’t take that personally.” Since portraying the floppy-eared Gungan, Best studied at the American Film Institute producer’s program and has gone on to dabble in writing, directing and producing in addition to acting.

Best also mentioned that Jackson was interested in the part in a Reddit AMA he did last year. “Michael Jackson really wanted to do it but George picked me,” he said. “Marinate on that one. I still am.”

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  1. DREDD 2 says:

    OMG! Jar Jar coulda been even worse??!!! As if his voice wasn’t squeaky enough! Still, i’d love to have seen how it compared, shame there was no audition. As fot the cgi/prosthetics argument, Jar Jar was a mixture of the two.The making of Phantom menace shows that. There were thousands of practical effects in the prequels, more than people realize, but there wasa lot of green screen and cgi too.

    Jar Jar, design wise isn’t that terrible, its his voice and actions and script that do the real damage. If he spoke like Greedo or Bib Fortuna, and didn’t do looney tunes cartoon gaffs and flips, he might have even been liked.

  2. Jorge Mendoza says:

    Wow. Abrams is doing something with the new Star Wars film that Michael wanted to do all those years ago–use prosthetics to bring a character to life. Say what you will about Jackson, but his aesthetic acumen was on point.

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