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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. jason
     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?

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(Updated Tuesday, Apr 1, 2008, 06:00:49 PM)

his agent at united talent agency is saying no to edgy, and gritty scripts from asian american filmmakers like Dean Fernando. "Baril" a fiipino american crime story to be shot and set in a tone similar to Cassavettes, early Scorsese, and Wong Kar Wai. Was considered below the standard of project Jason Scott Lee is acustomed too. Got to love those Agents looking for their clients' best interest. and you wonder why he hasn't worked in awhile......
bulletBoi    Sunday, June 30, 2002 at 15:06:42 (PDT)
In "BORN IN EAST L.A." , wasn't Jason Scott Lee the Chinese immagrant who walked around with a "Pimp-Limp" saying "WASSSSSSSSSSSAPANING!!!!!!"? (What's Happening)
Cheech&Chong fan
   Friday, June 28, 2002 at 22:34:27 (PDT)
Just saw "Lilo & Stitch"...great movie. I was a bit disappointed that Jason's character, David, didn't have a bigger role, but it was nice to hear his voice again!
Keep working, Jason...we love you!
   Sunday, June 23, 2002 at 08:28:34 (PDT)
he was in that movie soldier
i jus recognized his face
he shaved his head and didnt speak
jus beat that annoyin ass husband of goldie hawn
she such a pukeface
   Sunday, June 23, 2002 at 01:45:32 (PDT)
Regarding Jason Scott Lee's range as an actor, as I told him in an email that he probably won't get, his dramatic range in MAP OF THE HUMAN HEART and his comedic skills in JUNGLE BOOK, combined with his martial arts skills in DRAGON and his general physicality in RAPA NUI make him an actor who simply isn't working enough. I suggested a project of teaming him up with Jackie Chan in a father-and-son film, a more ethnically authentic type of Charlie Chan And Number One Son relationship, perhaps. I'd buy it!
George Schneider    Saturday, June 22, 2002 at 18:04:17 (PDT)
JSL is one of the voices in Lilo and Stitch. Apparently he hasn't decided to go away completely yet.
   Thursday, June 20, 2002 at 11:41:45 (PDT)
So Jason is going to be in Time Cop2? Can anyone tell me when and where it is coming out?
a fan
   Monday, June 10, 2002 at 06:35:24 (PDT)
Yup in Time Cop 2- but straight to video - no theatre showing unfortunately.
Oh well....
   Tuesday, May 07, 2002 at 19:34:46 (PDT)
My understanding is that Jason is starring in Timecop 2, now in production. So cheer up, he's got a job and we'll be seeing him soon!
Waynio    Sunday, May 05, 2002 at 17:36:50 (PDT)
I was wondering the same thing. I see a lot of stars droping off the set.
And it happens to be the ones that I always thought would make it huge.
Some get overlooked and by the time they actually get a start, something horrid happens. Like what happened to Thuy Trang.
Tailong    Sunday, April 28, 2002 at 20:27:27 (PDT)
I too agree that Jason Scott Lee is an incredibly talented and diverse actor. His portrayal of Bruce Lee in Dragon was spectacular! Convincingly filling the shoes of Bruce Lee - the greatest Martial Artist to ever hit the big screen - would be an incredible task for any actor both physically and mentally, and Jason's performance was remarkable. He has demonstrated his phenominal dramatic range in other movies like: Jungle Book, Solder, Rapa Nui, and Map of the Human Heart. I would also like to see him cast in more dramatic roles; however, I think Hollywood should continue to take advantage of his great combination of acting talent and physical skills. Although certainly entertaining, many less talented actors have gained superstardom based on their physical prowless alone (Arnold, Stalone, Steven Seagal, Jackie Chan and now The Rock). I think it would be refreshing to see a new action hero who can actually act and kick butt! I think Jason Scott Lee fits that bill, and I hope Hollywood gives him the chance!
A New Type of Action Hero!!
   Monday, April 22, 2002 at 12:40:13 (PDT)