Jason Scott Lee Trained With Bruce Lee’s Student For ‘Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story’

Jason Scott Lee (the live-action Mulan remake, Disney+’s Doogie Kameāloha, M.D.) has appeared in numerous roles. But he’s perhaps best known for portraying the legendary Bruce Lee in the 1993 biopic Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story. In preparation for the role, Jason Scott Lee trained with a student of the late martial artist.

‘Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story’ stars Jason Scott Lee as the titular cinematic icon

composite image of Bruce Lee and Jason Scott Lee as Bruce Lee
L: Bruce Lee | Archive Photos / Stringer, R: Jason Scott Lee in ‘Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story’ | Dirck Halstead/Getty Images

Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story is a biographical film about martial artist and actor Bruce Lee. The story follows Lee from his relocation from Hong Kong to the U.S. and includes his time as a Hollywood actor. It focuses on his career as a martial arts teacher, as well as his TV and film pursuits.

The film further explores the relationship Lee had with his wife Linda Lee Cadwell and the racism the actor was subjected to during his come-up and throughout his life. The writers took material from Cadwell’s book Bruce Lee: The Man Only I Knew. They also used material from Robert Clouse’s Bruce Lee: The Biography.

Additionally, the director Rob Cohen used Cadwell’s interviews as well as her son, Brandon Lee’s. Instead of adhering to the rigidity of the biographical movie, Cohen added elements of dramatization and mysticism to put it at par with the films in which Lee starred.

The movie received positive reviews, and critics praised Scott Lee’s performance as Lee. It was also a commercial hit earning $63.5 million against a $16 million budget.

Jason Scott Lee trained with Bruce Lee’s student for the movie

Jason Scott Lee got the job in the Bruce Lee movie after a casting director from The Last of the Mohicans recommended him. He didn’t receive that part because they didn’t think he looked Native American. But it led to his casting in the biopic.

According to the Los Angeles Times, Jason Scott Lee had no previous martial training when he took the job. However, he was a natural athlete, and he trained with Jerry Poteet, Lee’s former student.

Poteet explained, “I trained Jason the way I was trained by Bruce.” According to the outlet, this included a rigorous regimen. He trained Jason Scott Lee in Jeet Kune Do blocks, kicks, and punches.

Poteet praised Jason Scott Lee’s ability to grasp Bruce Lee’s teachings, calling him a “quick study.” The actor’s co-star John Cheung, who played his rival onscreen and was a stunt coordinator for the movie, also praised Scott Lee’s martial arts abilities.

Brandon Lee turned down the part of playing his father

Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story was riddled with conflict. Jason Scott Lee was diagnosed with hepatitis, and Cohen had a heart attack. Additionally, Lauren Holly, who played Lee’s wife Cadwell, dealt with the tragic loss of her younger brother. All of this came after the producers’ first choice turned down the role.

Bruce Lee’s son Brandon Lee was the first actor to be considered for the role. Not only was he the right age, but he also had the proper martial arts training — all in addition to his relation to the subject. At the time, Brandon Lee was pursuing his own acting career.

However, according to The Hollywood Reporter, Brandon turned down the role. He felt it would be too strange playing his father, especially in a film that dived into his parents’ romantic life. Brandon said, “If it had come along later in my career, I might have more seriously considered it.”

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