Many Vancouverites know B.C. Lee as a former Vancouver city councillor. Others might have become aware of him during his recent stint as president of the NPA.
But these days, Lee is reinventing himself as an actor. Earlier this year, he received a rave review from Georgia Straight theatre critic Colin Thomas for his performance as Hong, the father of a deceased gay man in Ga Ting (Family).
"In B.C. Lee’s performance, Hong’s fury and sorrow are as painfully present as glass in a wound," Thomas wrote.
At today's (June 10) opening ceremony for the Vancouver Taiwan Film Festival, Lee revealed to the Straight that he's recently been cast in a new Omni TV detective show called Blood and Water. He wouldn't disclose what his role will be.
Lee learned about cinema working alongside one of the world's great masters of the craft. In 1996, he was cast as a waiter in Taiwanese director Ang Lee's first feature film, Pushing Hands.
"Ang Lee was the son of my high school principal," Lee said. "When he was in New York making his first movie, we knew each other. It was a very, very low-budget movie, so he was trying very hard to find volunteers."
Ang Lee is renowned for such films as Brokeback Mountain, The Ice Storm, Life of Pi, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, and Sense and Sensibility.
B.C. Lee said his favourite Ang Lee movie is Eat Drink Man Woman.
The two have remained in contact with one another over the years and in 2008, B.C. Lee invited Ang Lee to come to Vancouver for a speaking engagement.
"He just wanted to go to Whistler and go skiing," B.C. Lee recalled with a laugh. "I said 'I could help take care of that.' "
When asked for any secrets about Ang Lee that his fans might not be aware of, B.C. Lee chuckled before saying, "When he was young, he was a good singer."
Fans of Ang Lee's work will be intrigued to learn that he's working on a biopic of recently deceased boxer Muhammad Ali.