skip navigation
Jason Scott Lee

Jason Scott Lee

| VIEW ALL

TCM Messageboards
Post your comments here
ADD YOUR COMMENT>

share:

TCM Archive Materials VIEW ALL ARCHIVES (0)

Recent DVDs

 
 

Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story... Bruce Lee, a name synonymous with classic kung-fu cinema like "Enter the Dragon"... more info $14.98was $14.98 Buy Now

Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey... In "Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey" (1993), three house pets - two dogs... more info $14.99was $14.99 Buy Now

Lilo & Stitch 2: Stitch Has A Glitch... The animated feature-length film Lilo & Stitch 2: Stitch Has a Glitch follows... more info $19.99was $19.99 Buy Now

Lilo & Stitch: Big Wave Edition... Walt Disney's lyrical animated comedy "Lilo & Stitch" (2002) about two lovable... more info $15.99was $15.99 Buy Now

Homeward Bound / Homeward Bound II (Double... Enjoy a double shot of furry friendship based on the timeless cinematic "road... more info $15.99was $15.99 Buy Now

4 Film Favorites: Kurt Russell Collection... Kurt Russell started his acting career as a child, appearing in several films... more info $14.99was $14.99 Buy Now

Also Known As: Died:
Born: November 19, 1966 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Los Angeles, California, USA Profession: actor, waiter, florist's delivery man

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

A kinder, gentler action hero for the New Age, Jason Scott Lee may be Hollywood's first male Asian-American sex symbol. (Another contender, Bruce Lee, first achieved superstardom in Hong Kong but failed to live long enough to cross over from chop-socky flicks.) Athletic and handsome, the young Chinese-Hawaiian actor's somewhat ethnically indeterminate looks led to a variety of roles in films and TV before he gained international celebrity as the star of the biopic "Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story" (1993). Though possessing little physical resemblance to the kung fu legend and no prior martial arts training, Lee proved an inspired choice. He not only captured many of Bruce Lee's physical and vocal mannerisms but also made him a complex and sympathetic romantic figure. The modestly budgeted film was quite successful in the USA and even more so overseas.Lee made a strong impression on TV as the star of "American Eyes" (1990), a "CBS Schoolbreak Special", playing a Korean boy, adopted by an American family, who struggles to accept his heritage and identity. He played an Eskimo opposite Anne Parillaud in the romantic period drama, "Map of the Human Heart" (1993), also Lee's first starring role in a feature. A...

A kinder, gentler action hero for the New Age, Jason Scott Lee may be Hollywood's first male Asian-American sex symbol. (Another contender, Bruce Lee, first achieved superstardom in Hong Kong but failed to live long enough to cross over from chop-socky flicks.) Athletic and handsome, the young Chinese-Hawaiian actor's somewhat ethnically indeterminate looks led to a variety of roles in films and TV before he gained international celebrity as the star of the biopic "Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story" (1993). Though possessing little physical resemblance to the kung fu legend and no prior martial arts training, Lee proved an inspired choice. He not only captured many of Bruce Lee's physical and vocal mannerisms but also made him a complex and sympathetic romantic figure. The modestly budgeted film was quite successful in the USA and even more so overseas.

Lee made a strong impression on TV as the star of "American Eyes" (1990), a "CBS Schoolbreak Special", playing a Korean boy, adopted by an American family, who struggles to accept his heritage and identity. He played an Eskimo opposite Anne Parillaud in the romantic period drama, "Map of the Human Heart" (1993), also Lee's first starring role in a feature. A loincloth-clad Lee also starred as a 17th-century Easter Island native in the Kevin Costner-produced "Rapa Nui" (1994) which was barely released in the USA to disastrous box office but he and the film garnered some positive notices.

While his sculpted physique might give Sylvester Stallone pause, Lee lacks the macho qualities of most movie heroes. He brings a refreshing sensitivity and spirituality to his roles. Disney's live-action adaptation of "Rudyard Kipling's The Jungle Book" (1994) put Lee back in an exotic period setting. His Mowgli represents noble savagery at its best: innocent yet wise, fierce in battle yet gentle in love, and a friend to all the animals. He's an action hero one could bring home to mother--once he puts on some clothes. The film was a modest success in theaters but an unqualified smash on video.

His career momentum slowed a bit as the 90s waned. "Murder in Mind" (1997), a confusing thriller in which Lee played a police detective, landed on cable and video. A similar fate befell 1998's "Russell Mulcahy's Tale of the Mummy" (a.k.a. "Talos the Mummy"). Lee once again displayed his physique and action prowess as the next generation of a fighting machine taking on Kurt Russell in "Soldier" (also 1998). He returned to the small screen as Aladdin in the high profile ABC miniseries "Arabian Nights" (2000) which aired on the eve of his West End stage debut. While he had been approached about playing the monarch in the Broadway staging of the revival of "The King and I", Lee turned down the offer to concentrate on film work. When approached again some three years later, he felt the timing was right and agreed to make his musical theater debut. Although he considered other options, Lee even opted to shave off his long locks and go bald, emulating Yul Brynner. the piece's originator. Starring opposite London stalwart Elaine Paige, he proved a potent and surprisingly virile figure.

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

1.
2.
 Balls of Fury (2007)
3.
 Nomad (2006)
5.
6.
 Dracula II: Ascension (2003) Father Uffizi
7.
 Lilo and Stitch (2002) Voice Of David Kawena
9.
 Soldier (1998) Caine 607
10.
 Murder in Mind (1997) Detective Holloway
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

1968:
Moved to Oahu, Hawaii at age two
:
Spent his teenage years as a surfer and gymnast
1987:
Joined the Friends and Artists Theater Ensemble in L.A.
:
Studied hula dancing
1987:
Feature debut as an illegal Asian immigrant posing as a Chicano in Cheech Marin's comedy "Born in East L.A."
1988:
Made TV debut in guest role on the courtroom drama series "Matlock"
1990:
Starred in "American Eyes", a "CBS Schoolbreak Special"
1990:
TV-movie debut, "The Lookalike" (USA Network)
:
Performed in "Balm in Gilead", "Marat/Sade", and other plays at Friends and Artists
1993:
First feature starring role, "Map of the Human Heart", a period romance in which he was cast as an Inuit Eskimo
1993:
Breakthrough screen role, cast as martial arts star Bruce Lee in the biopic "Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story"
1994:
Headed cast of the Polynesian-set "Rapa Nui"
1994:
Portrayed Mowgli in the live-action version of "The Jungle Book"
1998:
First released film in four years, "Soldier"
1998:
Co-starred in the feature "Russell Mulcahy's Tale of the Mummy/Talos the Mummy"
2000:
Cast as Aladdin in the ABC miniseries "Arabian Nights"
2000:
Made London West End debut in revival of "The King and I" opposite Elaine Paige; withdrew from production in July citing a family emergency
2005:
Opened the Ulua Theatre in Hawaii
2007:
Co-starred in "Nomad," a historical epic set in 18th-century Kazakhstan
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

Fullerton College: Fullerton , California -
Pearl City High School: Honolulu , Hawaii - 1984

Notes

Lee is a weekend painter.

He earned a black belt in Jeet Kune Do, the specialized martial art developed by Bruce Lee, in less than a year.

Lee was brought to the attention of "Dragon" director Rob Cohen by a casting director who had seen the actor trying out for Michael Mann's "The Last of the Mohicans" (1992). Lee lost out then because he failed to convince as a Native American but was referred for the role of Bruce Lee with the recommendation: "He can act, he's deep, he has an incredible body. . . ."

""Dragon" director Rob Cohen says his star shares with Bruce 'soulfulness, mystery, intelligence and incipient danger at all times.'"

"Plus he has a great body."

"'He's like a living piece of sculpture,' says Cohen. 'His body is so well-proportioned and skin so velvety. He looks gentle in repose--then he becomes a weapon.'"

"Lee's future is as sturdy as his physique. A charismatic performance in "Dragon" has him poised to become an Asian Tom Cruise, the first breakthrough Asian star since Bruce Lee."--From "Enter the 'Dragon' Player" by Tom Green, USA Today, May 4, 1993.

"Like, wow, he's a combination of the ultimate surfin' dude, Bruce Lee's spiritual son and a Hawaiian Bill and Ted of "Excellent Adventure" fame.

Actor Jason Scott Lee is one awesome, hunky little guy. He looks great, sitting in a New York hotel room with his earth-colored Indian dhoti, jeans and long black hair--but don't ask him to open his mouth. You'll be blown away by the accumulation of New Age psychojargon, Hollywood bizspeak and plain old folksy inarticulateness."

--From "Jason's Excellent Adventure in the 'Jungle'" by Lewis Beale, Daily News, December 27, 1994.

"'Working with the animals has been the most incredible acting workshop I've ever been to . . . There are so many things going on with an animal's whole way of living that are completely different from how we perceive the same thing.' Spending every spare moment off the set familiarizing himself with the animals, and vice-versa, Jason called upon a level of trust and confidence that he was never aware that he had. 'I soon realized that I had to be very clear and poignant with everything that came out of my mouth when I worked with them. If my actions were too abrupt, or my voice too harsh, it could be a danger or threat to that situation. The more I worked with the animals, especially the bear, I came closer to knowing what they were thinking, and felt much safer working with them." --From the press kit for "Rudyard Kipling's The Jungle Book"

"A wolf is always a wolf, and a bear is always a bear, so in observing that and being a part of what they are doing, you get a strong sense of who you are and what your fears are. It's about as straight ahead as you'll ever get." --From the press kit for "Rudyard Kipling's The Jungle Book"

"Rumour had it I was auditioned for The Matrix. I never was. What happened was that when the fight choreographers were brought in, the film-makers asked: 'Can you make Keanu look like Jason Scott Lee?' And they said: 'Why don't you get Jason?' The producers replied that I had been offered the part and turned it down. It was not true."

He smiles ruefully. "It was just Hollywood economics. Keanu would sell the picture. I could not." --From London's Evening Standard, April 25, 2000

On taking the role in "The King and I", Lee told the London Times (April 24, 2000): "It's a diversification for me. But sometimes what you know becomes totally boring. So you have to go into new territory, something that is scary and challenging and will put you in the place of being a student once again. I like that feeling. I like big challenges, and I think I that I was getting a little bored with the formulaic movies that I was getting offered."

Family close complete family listing

father:
Robert Lee. Bus driver. One-quarter Hawaiian, three-quarters Chinese.
mother:
Sylvia Lee. Chinese.

Please support TCMDB by adding to this information.

Click here to contribute