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What Happened to Jason Scott Lee?
(Updated Tuesday, Apr 1, 2008, 06:00:49 PM)

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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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.
chicky poo
   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.
hnguyen    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.
ddouros    Monday, December 09, 2002 at 19:56:43 (PST)
i do not know why everyone thinks Jason has "gone somewhere". he is a man in charge of his own life! if he wanted to be a SUPERSTAR, he would. he is not like other actors and knows that it is more important to be a SUPERSTAR in your own personal life. i think Jason knows exactly what he wants and wear he is going. he doesn't need any producer to help him how great he is or isn't. he knows who he is unlike many others. he capable of making even bad roles look good! so please people, give him more credit!
   Friday, December 06, 2002 at 16:44:44 (PST)
to Belinda, Hey, don't give up on Jason...he is just sitting there watchin the wheels go round and round! As an avid herbalist of sorts myself, I can't think of a better way to kill time. It takes intelligence to work with herbs and use them for healing the body! It takes patients to grow tropical plants and vision to see what they become! Only a sensitive caring man could do the world such justice!
   Thursday, December 05, 2002 at 14:18:53 (PST)
to Mighty Isis: if you think he was great in Jungle Book, check out The Bruce Lee Story! That is where I first saw him, and could not take my eyes away! To think that he never even took any martial arts classes and still could do the best Bruce Lee Kung Fu stunts, not to mention protrayal of the man himself, I have EVER seen is miraculous! He has a GIFT that few posess and I hope will not be wasted.
   Thursday, December 05, 2002 at 14:09:21 (PST)
Like Bruce Lee, here is another potential superstar going to waste, because Hollywood can't see past their own prejudices. I like Jackie Chan, but I think Jason beats him out on looks, talent, personality and charisma. He is also more pliable and versatile as he has portrayed many different types of roles and not just action films. (Needless to say, Jet Li has absolutely nothing on him!) I've been keeping an eye out for Jason Scott Lee ever since I saw him in the Jungle Book. The man is absolutely BEAUTIFUL!
Mighty Isis
   Monday, November 11, 2002 at 20:15:38 (PST)
Jason Scott Lee Doing Great in Hollywood!!! Lee signed on with Universal Studios for TimeCop 2 and will be released in Theaters either early or Mid 2003. That's right he knocked Van Damme out of the picture. He is also in talks to do Timecop 3 and Kato!! Look out for him!
Jago    Wednesday, November 06, 2002 at 12:42:36 (PST)
Jason is a really cool actor, im sorry i didn't realize that sooner. i mean i was only a little kid when i knew about him. but after eight years i still remember and think about him. I hope we get to see Jason more in the future, cuz it'd be a shame if we don't get to enjoy his innate talent for acting, charming and unique looks, and just JASON!!!
just 1 of JSL's many fan
   Saturday, November 02, 2002 at 16:09:52 (PST)
TO Christopher Anderson: I too have been working on a novel in which my first image of one of my main characters was that of Jason Scott Lee. You can't go past him really can you! The really sad thing is he is an increadibly talented actor who goes unnoticed, but apparantly all he wants to do is hang out in his cabin in Hawaii so I guess there's not much we can do about that! It's a pity though!
Belle    Wednesday, October 30, 2002 at 06:35:49 (PST)
You hit the nail right on the head- too many 'shirtless' roles early on hinder- ed his rise in the ranks, which is not to say he can't act. Hey, that approach was ok by me since I'm heavily into dy- namic physiques. To be so beautifully 'cut & chiseled' with nary an ounce of fat is mind boggling. Once RAPA NUI is out on DVD, my collection of Jason's 'muscular splendor' will be complete.
I'll be able to zoom in & out on every delicious part of his body & lust away!
Thomas    Saturday, October 26, 2002 at 11:46:03 (PDT)
god you are so right! he is an incredible actor,and hes so damn hot too.i have followed him in every movie, and i think hes been deprived good leads in films. he has so much potential.i could spend hours just looking at his picture, nevermind watching him in action in any given movie. we need to demand his revival as an actor, he is far to beautiful to be wasted away. damn i love him!
no I'M his #1 fan!!!!!!    Wednesday, October 16, 2002 at 18:39:43 (PDT)
Jason Scott Lee is a fantastic actor and it is such a shame that he quietly faded away. I sincerely hope he makes a huge comeback soon. I took note of someone saying that someone out there must be able to envision roles for him and that is exactly what I have done. I have been working on writing a huge fantasy trilogy for over four years called the Tarmarsha Island Trilogy, of which the first part is called The Legend of Tarmarsha Island. This is the kind of book that begs to be made into a movie and so I had envisioned who would play the characters in a movie version. Right from the start I wanted Jason to play the martial artist Jin Katana. This role may sound just like any other action role but actually it would require Jason to show off the true power of his acting with some very emotion scenes. This trilogy of mine is not just a cliched action story, but has some very important themes such as racism, forbidden love and sacrifice. I am confident that my trilogy will get published eventually one day so I hope Jason is around when they start casting for the movie adaptation of The Legend of Tarmarsha Island. Please Jason, you were BORN for this role!
Christopher Anderson    Sunday, September 29, 2002 at 13:23:52 (PDT)
The King and I wasn't his last performance, never fear. He's appeared in Lilo and Stitch, probably the voice of Stitch (though I've never seen the movie) and he is in Timecop 2. He also might star in Silk Curtain, but don't take my word for it. He's not gone...after all, he was the cover of Inside Kung Fu for October's issue!
   Tuesday, September 24, 2002 at 19:37:58 (PDT)
After having seen him in several movies, and seeing such an unusual mix of muscles/physique with grace and sensibility, I think the only place where JSL is going to find interesting roles, and projects where all his potential is appreciated, is either in the independent film industry or coming over to Europe.
   Wednesday, September 18, 2002 at 06:30:04 (PDT)
If Hollywood had any sense they'd create more roles for this hottie. What the movies need is more Asian, Latino and Black writers to create more great roles. Someone out there must be able to envision roles for this guy, right?
   Wednesday, September 04, 2002 at 22:36:22 (PDT)
I was actually in London in time to see Jason in "The King and I." At first, I was skeptical about seeing him. After all, I had only seen him in movies where he was a good (but not astounding) actor. However, after I saw him perform in the musical, I was blown away by his performance. His self-confidence just radiated through his every move. However, in Hollywood today, there is no room for a talented Asian actor outside the stereotypical roles of gangster, martial-artist, or some white guy's side kick. It is unfortunate for all of us that Jason Scott Lee had to come out in a time where he couldn't fully realize his potential
Appreciative but realistic
   Sunday, August 25, 2002 at 15:28:13 (PDT)
JSL is a very, very talented actor and a superb performer - but daft Mummy movies and heavy baddies (al la soldier) won't take him anywhere. He showed first rate talent and sensetivity in Map of the Human Heart. The well shaped body bit and Martial Arts action may work for a few movies but will ultimately undermine him. His real talent lies in using his underdeveloped inate acting talent and fusing it with his abilty to project on screen. Perhaps to venture out and take risks. He needs to do this even if it means going back to smaller parts and teaming up on projects like Matrix.
Garth A    Saturday, August 24, 2002 at 01:36:18 (PDT)
Jason Scott Lee is such a HOTTIE! I've loved him ever since Dragon. GREAT BOD JASON! The last time I saw him was in Arabian Nights and he is still a hearthrob. Hope to see him a in a new movie soon cuz I miss seeing him act a lot.
   Friday, August 16, 2002 at 01:45:21 (PDT)
Jason Scott Lee is totally the best asian american actor ever. I've seen all his movies and they are totally awesome and unforgetable. Why he never reached super stardom is something I will never get and that also makes me angry. But he is a super star to me and millions of AMs. I heard he has a new movie coming out, " Timecop 2". I hope this movie sky rockets his career. It should release in September 2003, and I can't wait to see it.
#1 Fan of JSL
   Friday, August 16, 2002 at 01:36:52 (PDT)
Uh, I just bought the 'Dragon' movie on DVD with J.S.L., and I thought it was quite good. Excellent acting. But what was up with the accent? I realize that Bruce Lee had an accent and JSL was imitating that, but I sure hope he doesn't speak like that in real life. NOT good for the AM image.
AM fan of JSL
   Tuesday, August 06, 2002 at 18:59:33 (PDT)
Hey Jason!
I just watched the jungle book on tv and I thought you did an awesome job. Hope you get to do more flicks like that in the future. The whole family enjoyed it.
Hope to see you in more upcoming movies.
   Monday, August 05, 2002 at 20:42:50 (PDT)
I don't get why Jason is not being offered tons of rolls, what is wrong with Hollywood?
   Monday, August 05, 2002 at 02:42:33 (PDT)
jason i think i am in love...... really stupid for you i guess but my heart tells me no lies every day and she get broke again and again. i can't get it any more..... you are a dream that won't come true you are so far away but i hope meet you same day and steel your heart like you stole mine. i also hope to read that and understand me......and answer me.kisses my ''love''.....

marina gioka---greece    Monday, July 15, 2002 at 16:14:42 (PDT)
I just think that jason's an amazing actor, and he's such a cutie, i can't wait, until he comes out with another movie, with a huge role, like dragon, not just being a voice...
   Friday, July 05, 2002 at 17:03:52 (PDT)