Liam Neeson says he is proud of Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace despite the backlash and criticism the film received when it was released in 1999.
Talking Monday with Andy Cohen on SiriusXM channel Radio Andy, the actor said he enjoyed making the film and believed it turned out well.
“I like the film. I proud of it and proud to have been a part of it,” Neeson told Cohen. “I got to be a Jedi. I got to play with those wonderful lightsabers and stuff. It was terrific, Andy, it really was.”
The Qui-Gon Jinn actor also noted he was greatly distressed by how badly Ahmed Best was attacked by fans and critics at the time for Jar Jar Binks.
“He came into a lot of criticism, I mean to the point where it really hurt his career,” Neeson 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.” Neeson added that he was so impressed, he told his manager that he believed Best could be the next Eddie Murphy. “And I still believe that,” he said.
A few years ago, Best revealed he was so tortured over the role, he considered suicide. He has since been welcomed into the Star Wars fandom with open arms. Neeson mentioned that at a recent convention Best attended, the crowd went nuts for the actor, which resulted in Best becoming overwhelmed with emotion.
Listen to the full segment below.