He was tall, dark and attractive and he definitely caught my attention. I thought he was a Brit, but it turns out he was born in Oklahoma and spent much of his childhood in Saudi Arabia (his dad was an oilman). On returning to the US, the family lived in New Orleans and Houston, Texas. Lee is a graduate of the prestigious Julliard School and has done work in television, on stage and on screen. I never saw either of his television series (Wonderfalls and Pushing Daisies), but the latter has been quite a cult classic and I hope to check it out in the not-too-distant future.
Lee’s breakthrough performance was the 2003 film made for Showtime, Soldier’s Girl, based on a true and tragic incident. Lee plays a transgender showclub performer who becomes involved with a young soldier, later beaten to death by a fellow GI. It’s the sort of story that could have been handled in a cheap and exploitative manner; instead, the relationship is explored with great sensitivity and it’s beautifully acted by Lee and Troy Garrity as Barry, the soldier who unexpectedly falls in love with someone very different.
Lee is six feet, three inches tall with a deep voice. Yet, he creates the illusion that he is a woman. He doesn’t come across as a drag queen with a lot of exaggerated mannerisms, but a very tall, willowy and graceful lady, and it is easy to see why the soldier would be attracted to Calpernia. Lee, already a lean fellow, lost 25 lbs. to play the role. He performance was nominated for several awards, including a Golden Globes.
In 2006, Lee appeared in the fantasy adventure film The Fall, playing Roy, a silent movie era stuntman who is partially paralyzed in a fall. With both heart and body fractured, Roy is befriended by a little girl recuperating from a broken arm in the same hospital. He entertains her with tales of strange mythical heroes and their far-flung exploits. It is one of the most visually stunning films I have ever seen (I have now ordered it on DVD) shot over a couple of years in a half-dozen different countries.”]
Lee has also appeared in such films as The Ceremony, When in Rome, A Single Man and has a role in Breaking Dawn Part 2.
He will be playing the elf king Thranduil in both of the upcoming Hobbit films. He just might give Leggy some competition in the hearthrob elf category. Lee’s trademarks are his bushy eyebrows and his shy, nervous but charming demeanor.