Whether skateboarding, playing a role on set or photographing the great Midwest, Jason Lee's always looking for new challenges. He spent a few years on hiatus from acting in front of a camera to shooting from behind one. Lee returned to reprise his role as Mallrats' Brodie Bruce for 2019's Jay and Silent Bob Reboot for director Kevin Smith.
Growth as an Actor
It's almost 25 years since the release of Mallrats. Lee said he's come a long way as an actor since starting out going into his latest film Jay and Silent Bob Reboot.
"The process has been the same with Kevin that long ago. He knows his writing, his world, and his characters. The only difference I can say is it's a lot more comfortable for me since Mallrats was my first movie. I was quite nervous and new to acting. I hadn't been on a set before and I had a lot of dialogue to tackle. All these years later, it's a little more comfortable with the workload. In terms of the process, it's the same and just as fun."
Meeting Stan Lee
Lee is a favorite of Smith acting in several of his films playing multiple characters. He even pulled double duty reprising Brodie Bruce and Chasing Amy's Banky Edwards in 2001's Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back. Lee sees himself closer to Brodie in real life. One of his fondest memories was working with Stan Lee in Mallrats.
"It was certainly an honor to work with him on Mallrats. Everybody including myself was taken back when he arrived on the set. We were kind of in awe. It was pretty extraordinary. He left behind an incredible legacy. I was really happy to be able to work with him."
Since Lee's passing in 2018, Smith created a shrine featuring the sweater he wore when shooting Mallrats in Brodie's comic shop in Jay and Silent Bob Reboot. Lee recently spent more time doing voiceover work and focusing on his photography.
"I like [acting in voiceovers and live-action]. [Voiceovers are] just a different version of acting. Voiceover work is fun. I really enjoy it. I was on a hiatus [from acting in live-action] for a few years. I'm gearing to get back to work after the four years off."
When it came to the superhero genre, Lee voiced the supervillain Syndrome in the 2004 Pixar animated feature The Incredibles. He also provided the voice of the title character in 2007's Underdog, a live-action feature adaptation of the 60-70s television cartoon. No studio approached Lee for a live-action comic role. He wants to go back to his earlier indie work.
"I would like to do another film like Chasing Amy or even another Mallrats. That's a part of us '90s kids. I kind of miss that era and working with Kevin. I [also] liked working on Almost Famous with the camaraderie and fellowship between actors and crew. That's really a thing when you can tackle dialogue and create characters. I like to work with Kevin again and work on memorizing all that dialogue. I like to do something like that again."
Jason Lee Photography
Lee's photography is inspired by his youth watching films and visiting locations.
"I love watching films and cinematography Films like Paris, Texas come to mind. A lot of the work I done out in California brings back memories of road trips as a kid in the 70s visiting family up in Northern California. I'm really into films, cinematography, and the American road trip. I like exploring more desolate regions, life outside of the cities. Just seeing what's out there. I've been doing it since 2006. It's nice to finally start publishing some of that stuff."
Lee's revisited the same locations to document how time affected the areas.
"A lot of the road trips I take are the same highways. I tend to photograph some of the same locations. I also took 13 years ago. A lot of the places are still there, but you see how time influences these places and how they age. I photograph these locations in California from 2006 and most recently in 2019. I watched these locations wither away a little bit. It's kind of interesting to see how it's changed. The fact that it's still there is what I find interesting.
They've become highway landmarks. Yeah, the kind of places you pass up on the highway. There a lot of places you pass up on your way to Mammoth on Highway 395 in California is really pretty. Up there in Lone Pine, they shot a lot of westerns out back in the day. Django was filmed up there. I like those regions and you're surrounded by the mountains. You got these pockets of towns that once were. "
Jay and Silent Bob Reboot is available on digital and Blu-ray.