Ahmed Best, who has starred as the Star Wars character Jar Jar Binks in the prequel trilogy of Star Wars movies, based his performance on a genuine movie legend.
Speaking with StarWars.com for an oral history of The Phantom Menace Best revealed that it was Buster Keaton, the actor behind some of the best comedy movies of the silent film era, who was a major inspiration for Binks. In particular, Best studied Keaton’s physicality.
“George wanted a character that was part-Goofy, but very physically aware. He really moved me toward what eventually became the walk. He wanted me to move slower, longer. Jar Jar was taller than I am, so he really wanted Jar Jar’s head to move in a specific way, so that forced me to try to come up with a physicality so that Jar Jar could move in a way that would work once animated.
Best continued, “But a lot of it was just a collaboration of movement, me giving George options, and him saying, “Yeah, more like that.” The voice was the same thing. It was just me giving George options, and he was like, “Yeah, do that one. Do that voice. Jar Jar’s character, the movement and the motivation, was really based off of Buster Keaton. George really honed into that aesthetic when it came to me.”
After starring as Jar Jar Binks, Best recently returned to the franchise in the Disney Plus Star Wars series The Mandalorian as the Jedi Kelleran Beq. His new character was seen rescuing Baby Yoda from the Jedi Temple on Coruscant during Order 66.
Naturally, that opens the door to Ahmed Best’s return in the future: either as Beq, or even as Jar Jar Binks. Who knows? We might even get that Darth Jar Jar theory in action one day.
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