Liam Neeson defended the actor who played Jar Jar Binks as one of the most talented people he's ever worked with

Liam Neeson played Qui-Gon Jinn in "The Phantom Menace" while Ahmed Best played Jar Jar Binks.20th Century Fox/Jean-Paul Aussenard/WireImage
  • Liam Neeson told Andy Cohen on SiriusXM's "Radio Andy" that he is "very proud" of "Star Wars: The Phantom Menace" despite the criticism the movie received.
  • Neeson, who played Qui-Gon Jinn, also defended Jar Jar Binks actor Ahmed Best as "one of the funniest guys and talented guys" he's ever worked with.
  • Neeson said: "I remember calling my old ex-agent at ICM and said, 'I think I just worked with the new Eddie Murphy.' I still believe that."
  • Best was derided for his role in "Star Wars," and once considered suicide after receiving death threats from fans.
  • Best is enjoying a recent comeback, however, after getting a standing ovation at a "Star Wars" convention and hosting Disney Plus' game show "Star Wars: Jedi Temple Challenge."

Liam Neeson defended "Star Wars: The Phantom Menace" and his costar Ahmed Best, who was heavily criticized in his role as Jar Jar Binks.

In an interview on Monday with Andy Cohen on SiriusXM's "Radio Andy," Neeson said: "I know a lot of fans and critics didn't like it and my lovely friend Ahmed Best, who played Jar Jar Binks, came in for a lot, a lot of criticism. To the point where it really hurt his career."

Neeson, who played Jedi master Qui-Gon Jinn, said: "And I have to say when I was making that film … he was probably one of the funniest guys and talented guys I have ever worked with. I remember calling my old ex-agent at ICM and said, 'I think I just worked with the new Eddie Murphy.' I still believe that."Advertisement

Best was derided at the time for Jar Jar, with the character created for comic-relief but quickly becoming the most hated "Star Wars" characters in the entire franchise. Best has previously opened up about the effect that the critics' and fans' reactions, which included death threats, had on him and said it even drove him to consider suicide.

Neeson continued: "Truly, he is one of the funniest guys. He had all of us in stitches — including George Lucas. And then bam, the film comes out and he's attacked, personally attacked by fans and critics for whatever reasons."

However, Best is now hosting the "Star Wars"-themed children's game show "Star Wars: Jedi Temple Challenge" on Disney Plus, and Neeson told Cohen about the experience that Best had at Star Wars Celebration Chicago in 2019.
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Best, who also featured in "Attack of the Clones" and "Revenge of the Sith," albeit to a lesser extent, received a rapturous greeting and a standing ovation. Neeson said: "It was a beautiful thing to hear."

"I'm very proud of the film, I got to be a Jedi, got to play with those wonderful lightsabers and stuff, it was terrific. It really was," Neeson said. "I liked the movie. I'm proud of it. I'm proud to have been a part of it."Listen to the full interview segment below:Advertisement

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