Earlier this year, I had the pleasure of seeing Kevin Smith’s Jay and Silent Bob Reboot, which features a small cameo from actor Jason Lee, who got his start in acting on Smith’s Mallrats before appearing in another Smith film, Chasing Amy, which launched Lee’s career. Except that Lee’s acting career has been fairly nonexistent in recent years. In fact, because I do not watch Alvin and the Chipmunks films, the last time I’d probably seen Lee on screen was in his final appearance on Raising Hope in 2013. Outside of some animated voice work, Lee hadn’t done any television or movies between 2015 and his brief appearance on Jay and Silent Bob.
Meanwhile, over the weekend, I watched the pilot for My Name Is Earl for another piece I wrote for Uproxx, and wondered again, “Where did Jason Lee go?” I’d remembered hearing him on a Nerdist podcast promoting a TV pilot for Amazon called Cocked in 2015, but that pilot obviously didn’t go anywhere, and since then, Lee has more or less dropped off the face of the Earth?
Sort of. Jason Lee actually did leave California back in 2015, a few months after that failed pilot with Sam Trammel and the Nerdist podcast. He moved along with his wife, Ceren Alkaç, and children to Denton, Texas, and if you’re wondering — and I know you are — he also quit Scientology, as he revealed to the Dentonite in 2016, in the context of putting to bed rumors that he was in Denton to buy up the town.
We don’t practice Scientology, and that we aren’t particularly interested in opening religious centers in general, we have no plans to open a Scientology center. Quite a few rumors about me/us floating around but none of it’s true. We’re not here to buy up or change or take over Denton, put some kind of personal stamp on it. We’re just here like anyone else who wants to be a part of Denton’s very cool creative community, and to be involved and perhaps help where we can.
Lee does, however, own part of a restaurant called Barley & Board, which is currently shut down due to the pandemic. However, while in Denton, Lee pursued a third career (after skateboarding and acting) in photography. He’s good. This is a portrait of his wife three weeks ago.
More recently, it also appears that Lee has returned to Los Angeles with his family, based on the Instagram account that he shares with his wife. He is also the founder of an Instagram photo community, which suggests that he is very serious about photography, notwithstanding the fact that he’s been cast in the television pilot Valley Trash opposite up-and-coming actress Lulu Wilson (The Haunting of Hill House, Sharp Objects). Wilson was cast in March, but given the pandemic, the status of that series remains unclear.
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Hello folks, While we hope everyone is staying safe & well out there… we just want to take a moment to wish @filmphotographic founder @jasonlee a very special 50th birthday salute! Happy Birthday @cerenandjason thank you for the never ending inspiration, and constant generosity. Good luck blowing out all those candles. Photos by @raymond.molinar & @ericeffinb
Header Image Source: Getty Images