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Liam Neeson defends the hated Star Wars prequel The Phantom Menace and Jar Jar Binks actor Ahmed Best

Liam Neeson has weighed in on the controversial Star Wars: The Phantom Menace Episode I film that was largely derided by critics and fans.

The Taken star defended his 1999 Star Wars film, stating that he was both “very proud of the film” and that unlike other people, he “liked” it.

Speaking to Andy Cohen on the radio station SiriusXM, Neeson said, “I’ve very proud of the film, I got to be a Jedi, got to play with those wonderful lightsabers and stuff, it was terrific. I liked the movie.”

The actor, who played Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn in the prequel, also passionately defended his co-star Ahmed Best, who was slammed by Star Wars fans following his performance as Jar Jar Binks.

He told the press: 'Martin requires this level of dedication and I think it pays off'
He told the press: ‘Martin requires this level of dedication and I think it pays off’

“It really hurt his career,” said Neeson. “And I have to say when I was making that film… he was probably one of the funniest guys and talented guys I had 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.”

The 68-year-old added, “Truly, he had all of us in stitches, including George Lucas.”

In 2018, Best revealed that he was nearly driven to suicide by the vitriol and backlash he received after the movie was released.

Best shared a Twitter post, reading: “20 years next year I faced a media backlash that still affects my career. This was the place I almost ended my life.”

Best continued as Jar Jar Binks throughout the prequel trilogy.

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