Michael Jackson may have been best known for his incredible musical talent, but he also took a hand to acting in projects like 1978’s The Wiz. But on top of this did you know he was almost cast in Star Wars? George Lucas seriously considered The King of Pop for the first of his prequels, Episode I: The Phantom Menace.
It turns out Jackson wanted to play the Gungan Jar Jar Binks, who was portrayed by Ahmed Best via a motion-capture performance.
The actor, who has previously confessed he considered suicide after the poor reception to his character, also returned to voice him in Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith.
When asked about MJ almost being cast in the role before him, he shared how Lucas revealed the news to him. But this only came about when they first met with Jackson and his ex-wife Lisa Marie Presley, Elvis’ daughter, who died last month aged 54.
Speaking previously with VICE, Best said: “That’s what George told me. 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].”
Filming on The Phantom Menace didn’t begin until summer 1997, a year on from when the famous couple divorced after two years of marriage. However, for the four years afterwards, Lisa Marie Presley attempts to reconcile with MJ intermittently by travelling to different parts of the world to be with him. So presumably this was on one of those occasions.
READ MORE: Michael Jackson and Lisa Marie were together for years after split
Best continued: “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 afterparty. 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 makeup like ‘Thriller.'” 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.”
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