What's it like to be Jar Jar? Find out from the man who played him

Ahmed Best, the actor who played the bumbling Gungan in the Star Wars prequels, talks about the backlash against Jar Jar and what it's like to get a piggyback ride from Liam Neeson.

Ahmed Best waits for director George Lucas to yell "Action!" on the set of "Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace."

Video screenshot by Danny Gallagher/CNET

Imagine that you're a theater actor who's been tapped to play a major role in one of the most anticipated movies of all time. You tell your entire family, all of your friends and even total strangers you see leading up to the premiere.

Then that character turns out to be Jar Jar Binks, one of the least beloved characters in the history of the Star Wars franchise.

Actor Ahmed Best is that someone. He sat down for an interview for the YouTube series "These Are the Actors You're Looking For" that features the lesser-known stars who played some of the most iconic characters in the Star Wars films.

Pretty much every Star Wars fan seems to spurn the name of Jar Jar the same way they would a painful boil. Heck, I've practically made a career out of it. However, it's just as easy to forget that someone poured their heart and soul into the character to create something that tried to introduce Star Wars to a whole new generation of young moviegoers.

Best's interview with host Jamie Stangroom includes some interesting revelations about how he got the role of the infamous Gungan and what it was like working on his first major role in a Hollywood blockbuster. He says he was originally cast just to do the motion capture work for the character after having only worked in theater, but director George Lucas gave him a speaking role after hearing the voice he proposed for the character from an audition tape.

"Jar Jar's voice is my generic, little kid voice," Best says. "So when I did the variety of voices for George, that was one of them and because Jar Jar was supposed to be this big kid, George really gravitated towards it."

Best also talks about a strange meeting he had on the set with the late Michael Jackson, who lobbied Lucas to cast him as Jar Jar in the movie. Best first revealed Jackson's efforts to get the role in a Reddit AMA he did last year.

"He was one of my biggest idols growing up and then all of a sudden, I take a job from Michael Jackson," Best says. "Not everybody can say that."

If you're a longtime hater of Jar Jar Binks, you should also take the time to watch Best's interview because it reveals some truths that will remind every hard-core fan about the hard work and effort it takes to produce something just to entertain someone. Best says he understands why some fans didn't like Jar Jar but the reaction still stung.

"It didn't put me off Star Wars but it was painful," Best says. "This character for me and one of the biggest reasons why I took it was the challenge of it. There was no Andy Serkis and Gollum or Na'vi from 'Avatar' or aliens from 'John Carter' to be the template for this...On set, we were all just so focused on the challenge of it and we were having so much fun that the post-Star Wars stuff was kind of a surprise."

I never thought I'd say this but I actually feel a little bad for Jar Jar now.

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