The Rise and Fall of Jason Scott Lee / What happened to Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story's Bruce Lee
What really happened to Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story's Bruce Lee? In this video, I'll be discussing the rise and fall of Jason Scott Lee.
00:00 – Introduction
00:16 – Jason Scott Lee Biography
05:36 – What happened to Jason Scott Lee?
Jason Scott Lee, most known for playing the title character of Bruce Lee in the biopic, Dragon: The Bruce Lee story was born on November 19th, 1966 in Los Angeles California to a Chinese-Hawaiian father and a Chinese mother. The family moved to Hawaii when Jason was 2, where he grew up. His interest in acting began in high school and further blossomed when he enrolled in Fullerton college, where he studied under acting coach Sal Romeo.
In 1987, he would land his first role, a bit part in Cheech Marin’s Born in East LA and would soon take on many supporting roles and other bit parts, including 1989’s Back to the Future part 2.
1992 would see him play a credible portrayal of a tortured young Inuit, Native Alaskan in Map of the Human Heart, which would lead him to an audition for The Last of The Mohicans. The director thought Jason Scott Lee looked too Asian to play a Native American; however, he did suggest him for the lead role in Dragon: The Bruce Lee story.
Prior to Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story, Jason had no martial arts training, but kept himself fit with surfing and gymnastics. Once cast, He would train in Jeet Kune Do, the style that Bruce Lee founded, for just 7 weeks before filming began. Luckily, he was able to adapt with ease under the tutelage of one of Bruce Lee’s owns students, Jerry Poteet. The training was tough. Jason said in a later interview, “I remember being on my knees weeping for days and wondering how I was going to pull this off”. He still remembers the exact moment that carrying the weight of Bruce Lee’s Legacy became too much for him. “I had an emotional breakdown while I was training”, “Everything was too heavy, you know? It was much too much pressure and I just fell apart” he said.
Thankfully, Jason would receive sterling reviews for his portrayal of Bruce Lee while having his name on movie posters across the world. He was also featured in a video game based on the popular movie. The young actor's success in capturing the icon's moves and moods brought international celebrity seemingly overnight. The story in the film was endearing and entertaining, in part thanks to Rob Cohen’s electrifying directing style. The rest of the praise went to Jason Scott Lee’s amazing portrayal of the most recognizable martial artist who ever lived.
Despite being lauded by critics for his performance in Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story, the career of Jason Scott Lee didn’t exactly skyrocket as expected.
So, what happened?
Of course, the Bruce Lee biopic was a key that opened many doors, but they all seemed to lead to the great outdoors. Jason couldn't seem to get near a role calling for street clothes.
After Dragon, he'd appear in the cinematically beautiful yet box office bomb Rapa Nui, then later that same year in the live action The Jungle Book, playing the lead character of Mowgli. However, the demands of the Hollywood life were eventually not for him and After spending some time with “one foot in Hollywood and the other in a jungle,” Jason decided to drop his manager and agent and live in Hawaii full time, in his self-sufficient farming compound that he calls ‘Pu Mu,’ which means ‘simplicity.’
Several years later, in 1998, Jason would once again venture into the limelight to star alongside Kurt Russell in the sci-fi action film Soldier. Unfortunately, the film struggled to find an audience at the box office, as many action films would in the late 90s.From there Jason would appear in several straight-to-video releases, such as Dracula 2: Ascension in 2001, Timecop 2: The Berlin Decision in 2003 and The Prophecy Forsaken in 2005.
Several more projects would come over the next decade plus, most notably 2016s Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: Sword of Destiny and 2020’s live-action Disney film Mulan.
In 2021, Jason starred as a main role in the Disney+ series Doogie Kameāloha, M.D., a reboot of Doogie Howser, M.D..
Circling back to the sequel to Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, a film produced by Bey Logan, it’s interesting to hear his thoughts about Jason Scott Lee based on his Bey’s own observations and conversations with the man.