ASIAN AMERICAN ISSUES
What Happened to Jason Scott Lee?
e's played an Inuit Eskimo (Map of the Human Heart), a Polynesian prince (Rapa Nui) and practically every Asiatic ethnicity in between, including the ultimate icon of his own (Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story). Five have been bona fide romantic leads -- a major achievement for an Asian American actor. What has made Jason Scott Lee's roles so memorable for many is their animal physicality.
Wednesday, Apr 2, 2008, 12:00:53 AM)
Sweat glistening over rippling muscles, Lee has battled, raged and made hot love -- not exactly the images Hollywood often links with Asian men. Like a true hero, he has saved studios big bucks in wardrobe costs and spared millions of females the rigors of imagining the physique attached to those smoldering eyes and full lips.
So what happened to him?
After Jungle Book (1994) and the cinematically beautiful, financially ugly Rapa Nui (1994), Lee sleepwalked through several forgettable movies. The last most of us saw him, he was Aladdin in the 1999 Hallmark miniseries Arabian Nights -- unless you were in London the following year and caught the stage production of The King and I.
Few Hollywood careers have risen to such a sustained crescendo, then faded so quickly.
Lee was born in Los Angeles on November 19, 1966 to a Chinese-Hawaiian father and a Chinese mother. He was two when his family moved to Hawaii. An undistinguished record at Pearl City High left him few options. A year after graduation Lee enrolled at Fullerton Community College. Before long he turned to acting and landed a bit part in Cheech Marin's Born in East LA. A credible portrayal of a tortured young Inuit led to an audition for The Last of the Mohicans. Too Asian to play an Indian, decided the director. So he suggested Lee for the lead in Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story (1993). The young actor's success in capturing the icon's moves and moods brought international celebrity, making him a latter-day reincarnation of Bruce Lee to the under-40 set.
It was a key that opened many doors, but they all seemed to lead to the great outdoors. Having been typecast as Primal Man, Lee couldn't seem to get near a role calling for street clothes. Meanwhile, he now spends a lot of time indulging his passion for growing tropical plants. He's even considering a career as an herbalist.
Hollywood careers built in loincloths having seen their heyday when Johnny Weissmuller played Tarzan, could Lee's physical beauty and animal magnetism have sent him down a dead end? That's one theory. What's yours?
This interactive article is closed to new input.
Discussions posted during the past year remain available for browsing.
© 1996-2013 Asian Media Group Inc
No part of the contents of this site may be reproduced without prior written permission.
WHAT YOU SAY
[This page is closed to new input. --Ed.]
It is very insulting to say JSL has disappeared from the film industry when he has just finished filming the sequel to TimeCop.
Saturday, April 19, 2003 at 21:24:45 (PDT)
I have more respect for Jason Scott Lee than all the Asian sell out actors that have come prior to and after Jason.
We know who they are.
Jason is truly someone who is not driven by money or fame but rather a chance to empower Asians.
Bruce Lee was the same way. Both men made me proud to be an Asian man in American society.
I do hope Jason comes back in a big way to Hollywood and continues his career.
Good luck Jason from a big fan of yours.
Saturday, April 19, 2003 at 11:33:35 (PDT)
No, I think that this world is too racist. Jason Scott Lee is a wonderful actor, and I think he has alot of potential, but I think sometimes people do not look deep enough in someone, they only look at the outside. I highly respect Asian people, and I feel sorry for the way they are sometimes treated. Jason Scott Lee is just as good of an actor or better than some to the American actors we see all the time. I am an american girl who loves Jason and I think we should see more of him.
Good luck to you Jason is whatever you do!
Sunday, March 30, 2003 at 13:22:52 (PST)
Byron Mann as "Ryu" in "Street Fighter" is more good looking than JSL
Thursday, March 27, 2003 at 04:01:40 (PST)
U want to see beautiful asian-actors? I rekommended "Romeo must die" and "Yamakasi"
Wednesday, March 26, 2003 at 02:03:32 (PST)
Jason Scott Lee is flawlessly beautiful, to the point that when watching the Jungle Book I have to stop the tape every so often and take a deep breath to calm myself. To a non-Asian woman with a severe Asian fetish, Jason Scott Lee represents everything about Asian men that I clumsily try to explain to my friends and family who just don't get my, uh, fascination. He's gorgeous beyond words, obviously a phenomenal and charismatic actor, and I'm heartsick that I don't own everything he's ever been in. I don't think he could ever ruin his career--society and its unspoken rules and limitations, however, have put a subtle lid on an extraordinary well of talent and haunting beauty. And of course, we all agree that it's detestable.
The Lady Hellion
Monday, March 24, 2003 at 18:04:00 (PST)
Just wanted to say that Jason played one of the lead character voices in Stitch, the animation. Whoever wrote this article obviously didn't do much research. He is an active guy and we just need to catch up with what HE'S doing.
Monday, March 24, 2003 at 11:58:29 (PST)
I agree with ALL of the comments made on this page! I don't mean to sound like i'm being a bit like a suck and agreeing with everyone, i just think that you all make valuable points that i have read through and been nodding my head at most! I thought that this page would be filled with teenybopper comments about Jason's body and where is he now etc etc. I am quite surprised! I just want to agree that putting him on a page entitled "where are they now" IS an insult. I disagree that his career has faded away, i simply think that peoples interests change, its like saying you can be into a band for a couple of years and then you get bored, people except that dont they? They don't start questioning your motives (crap example i know!)!! Well Jasons careers is the same, I fully respect that he has maybe decided to head in a different direction and I truly believe that his fans will support his plans to the end!
Ok I said my bit, so...er i suppose I should tell you how much of a fan I am?! Well, i'm not going to lie to you, I AM a fan, but, unfortunately not a long-term fan! I only heard of Jason during last year when I saw "Dragon..." on a sky movies channel, and I was blown away. He truly is brilliant, and I was taken in by him immediately, I am only 16, and I have to say that I don't usually go for Asian guys, I have the blonde hair and the whole boring typically English package, but when I saw Jason, WOW, he has totally changed my aspect on the Asian society, and for an Actor to do that for me, he must be one amazing actor! There are some totally BEAUTIFUL asian guys out there, and Jason in particular. Adoration is the only word to describe, I admire him, I respect him, and i do adore him!...I also want to thank him for providing the image that I keep in my wallet and under my pillow! Many of my friends have seen his picture and too have immediately been in awe. I also want to thank him for broadening my horizons and opening my eyes. I really think that he should do what HE wants with his life and be happy, I only hope that I can meet him one day! I too think that Asian actors should be given more respect for the work that they do, they are just as good if not better than the likes of Brad Pitt, who I have to say, abnormal as it may sound, does nothing for me!!!
Thursday, March 13, 2003 at 13:52:06 (PST)
I have loved Jason Scott Lee since the first time I have seen him in the movies. He is truly a beautiful man and he is one of the most beautiful men that I have ever seen. I am one of his true fans and I hope some day with all of my heart that I will meet him some how.
I hope he will have a wonderful life.
Wednesday, March 12, 2003 at 20:15:12 (PST)
Please lets forget he is Asian, he is a man a lovely looking one at that!!
Friday, March 07, 2003 at 04:37:32 (PST)
i think Jason Scott Lee is the most BEAUTIFUL asian man i have ever laid eyes on!!! he's also a very good actor. when i saw him in Dragon: the Bruce Lee Story, iwas hooked forever. then when i saw him in the jungle book, it blew me away. i wish he would make another movie because i like his acting skills and fine looks. so if you need an actor you need to get him immediately! good luck with growng tropical plants! love you always JSL!!:-)
( I'm also an African-American and he's one of the few asian people that i think i sooooo FINEEEEE!!!!:-)
Monday, February 24, 2003 at 14:28:09 (PST)
I love JSL.
God bless you Jason.
All my love
Sara in Sweden.
Saturday, February 22, 2003 at 20:40:16 (PST)
I am really diappointed not to see Jason Scott Lee MORE on screen. I think he is attractive ,charismatic,
and a good actor. I am sure if more influential people in the movie making community were way more open minded and realistic, we would be seeing more of him. Though I also a fan of Jackie Chan and Jet Li, it is very unfortunate that many movie producers and casting directors are not ready to accept Asian men in any other roles other than martial arts. The fact that the majority of those who hold the money and the clout in the movie industry are white males who are not necessarily enlightened is what brings me to my conclusion. I think they still fail to realize and accept that those of us who are not caucasian are indivdiuals and are just as human as they are.
Thursday, February 20, 2003 at 00:22:47 (PST)
I think JSL loves nature and wants to just take some time out to produce naturally beautiful tropical plants and delicious foods. I think he deserves to pursue other interests especially if the acting career doesn't work out. God Bless you Jason.
Tuesday, February 11, 2003 at 21:34:11 (PST)
He is just too much man and too much of a great actor. He completely grabs your attention when you are watching him. For me it's not so much about his look as it is his presence. Don't get me wrong he is BEAUTIFUL and this is coming from a black woman who never looked at an asian man before him, but I think his performances say it all, every role he's played has been stupendous. He should be considered for more roles.It's not very many male actors that have that special quaility like that man does.
Tuesday, February 11, 2003 at 16:18:38 (PST)
Since the first time i layed eyes on him in jungle book (i was 6)...i was instantly hooked. Then i saw dragon and my fixation became even worse!
but since then it's almost as if the most luscious Mr lee has vanished of the face of the earth!
Although hes had minor parts in minor movies, its not the same! Someone needs to remember his talent and get him a lead role again. And if they think he's gettin a bit old to be the heroe, just think of arnie, hes old! or if he's too old to be the romantic man, brad pitt is 40!
So if anyone important is reading this, please consider him in ur next movie project coz he'll be worth it!
Tuesday, February 04, 2003 at 03:00:04 (PST)
When I first saw the movie ''Dragon The Bruce Lee Story'',Jason amazed me and he had inspired me to do what I wanted to do!I love you Jason for all your strength you gave me........
Tuesday, January 28, 2003 at 07:07:14 (PST)
I look forward to the day when Asian actors and actresses no longer look toward Hollywood as the Mecca for the movie industry.
Disciple of the Dragon
Monday, January 27, 2003 at 13:09:08 (PST)
Has it occurred to anyone that Jason Scott Lee has pulled off a miracle: he is an Asian-American FILM STAR! This is unheard of! It's insulting to place him in a "Whatever happened to" category! What happened to Jason Scott Lee is that he has been (and continues to be) a trailblazer in a system that is notoriously racist. Stop patronizing him! Celebrate him! He has accomplished a feat that is the cultural equivalent of scaling Everest, and he is highly regarded for it and (no doubt) handsomely compensated. If he never acted again, his performances in Dragon and Map of the Human Heart will forever secure his place in the pantheon of performers who, by dint of sheer talent and personality, have paved the way for a (hopefully) less racist future. Whatever happened to Jason Scott Lee? Just open your eyes!
Sunday, January 19, 2003 at 14:44:06 (PST)
I think that Hollywood is just too racist, and that there are very few roles available for AM to play. And they never let asians play any "competent" characters -- they always have to be not only subordinate but ALSO inadequate, weak, loserly, or a combination of all the above. Maybe JSL just hasn't been offered anything worth doing! Maybe there's been more satisfying work to do in his off-screen life than on. They hardly ever have Asians playing an assimilated character, or "ordinary" person - they are always written in as "the asian". It's very sad.
Wednesday, January 15, 2003 at 16:26:10 (PST)
Jason Scott Lee's incredible draw lies not only in his Physique, but his sheer presence. Hollywood producers would do well to look at this page and see what spell this man weaves upon the sreen to so entrance the public. His appeal does not have borders I myself am a forty plus english woman, and I think he is truly an extremely talented actor. I hope that one day someone somewhere will wake up and give him the role he deserves. Until then we can watch in awe as he lifts good, mediocre and poor films into another sphere with performances that far surpass the material. One can only guess at where he could take us should he actually be offered material that equals his talent. Love to you Jason.
Tuesday, January 14, 2003 at 13:23:25 (PST)
He's a typical actor. I don't see anything about him that sets him apart. He's more outside than inside. All that muscles will attract the teenagers and airheads. If he wants to move up the ladder, he's gonna have to do better.
Thursday, January 09, 2003 at 22:39:17 (PST)
DDouros writes on December 9th, "Does he (Jason) have a girlfriend? I hope not, I love him! JSL is every girls dream guy." I would add that he's every guy's dream guy, too! Like DDouros, I've never read anything about his having a girlfriend (or a boyfriend), so I guess we can ALL hope!
James, his #1 fan
Tuesday, December 24, 2002 at 07:51:55 (PST)
Unfortunately, what happend to JSL is quite simple. He is too gifted and too good looking to fit Hollywood's stereotype of the AM. Quite frankly, he is a serious threat to all the white males in Hollywood. Furthermore, I think they are green with envy. I have seen all of JSL movies, he is awesome. Does he have a girlfriend? I hope not, I love him! JSL is every girls dream guy. He possesses animal magnetism, confidence, strength, cunning, intelligence. I hope more roles will be written for him. I can't wait to see his next film.
Monday, December 09, 2002 at 19:56:43 (PST)
NEWEST COMMENTS |