Actor Ahmed Best, who played Jar Jar Binks in the “Star Wars” prequel trilogy, has spoken about how his much maligned character’s contribution to motion capture performance has been overlooked.
A new video feature for Wired featuring Andy Serkis showed the evolution of mo-cap, but began things with Serkis’ work on “The Lord of the Rings” which came over two years after Best’s work in “Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace”.
Best took to Twitter to say: “I don’t know how to retweet this and not sound bitter, but I feel I have been forgotten. No disrespect to the great @andyserkis”. When fans responded with waves of support, he followed it up with a longer response (via Screen Rant):
“Thanks for the love today especially the Star Wars fans. Jar Jar is bigger than just me or my performance. As much as we actors are on the front line when it comes to the success or the failure of characters we play, what’s more important is the accomplishment of bringing the work to the screen.
Jar Jar helped create the workflow, iteration process and litmus test for all CGI characters to this day on some days the code was being written in real time as I was moving. To deny Jar Jar’s place in film history is to deny the hundreds of VFX technicians, animators, code writers and producers their respect.
People like John Knoll, Rob Coleman and scores of others who I worked with for two years after principal photography was ended to bring these movies to you. There’s a joke I like to use when talking about this stuff, Jar Jar walked so Gollum could run. Gollum ran so the Na’vi could fly. Thanks for lifting me up today.”
Best has spoken candidly about the backlash against his character in the past and has a point – Jar Jar Binks was the first fully-computer-generated supporting character in any feature film and a major step forward in the then-new technology of motion-capture.
On the flipside Serkis was talking mostly about his and Weta’s involvement in the digital capture side of mo-cap, not ILM which is where Binks was crafted.