Michael Jackson had ooit contact met George Lucas over zijn mogelijke rol in de film Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace (1999). De inmiddels overleden ‘King of Pop’ had zijn oog op het personage Jar Jar Binks. De rol zou uiteindelijk gaan naar Ahmet Best, die dit detail onlangs onthulde. Volgens hem was Jackson van plan om de rol te spelen met make-up en protheses.
“Me, Natalie Portman, and George’s kids – we were at Wembley arena at Michael Jackson’s concert. We were taken backstage and we met Michael. There was Michael and Lisa Marie [Presley]. George introduced me as, ‘Jar Jar,’ and I was like, ‘That’s kind of weird.’ Michael was like, ‘Oh. OK.’ I thought, ‘What is going on?’ After Michael had driven off, we all go back up to a big 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 make-up like Thriller [videoclip van Michael Jackson].’ George wanted to do it in CGI. My guess is ultimately Michael Jackson would have been bigger than the movie, and I don’t think he wanted that.”
Jar Jar Binks was één van de vele elementen die bekritiseerd werden in Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace. Ahmet Best was in eerste instantie verbaasd over hoe negatief zijn personage werd ontvangen, die volgens hem waarschijnlijk te experimenteel was. Waar hij zich des te meer aan stoorde was de kritiek richting zijn jonge tegenspeler Jake Lloyd, die de rol van Anakin Skywalker op zich nam.
“Say what you want to say, but leave the kid alone, let him grow up. The amount of vitriol he took as an eight-year-old was just wrong, and it affected him.”