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Jason Lee is keeping busy with TNT's 'Memphis Beat' [Updated]

April 5, 2010 |  1:18 pm

Jason Lee Jason Lee is a busy man. He may not be donning that signature Earl Hickey ‘stache these days, but the former “My Name Is Earl” star is still hard at work.  He’s dodging squealing kids who think he really is full-time caregiver to a trio of high-pitched rodents.  He’s putting the finishing touches on a live-action comedy for Adult Swim set in the skateboarding world.  And he’s starring in a new TNT pilot, executive produced by George Clooney.

“Things are good,” Lee said in a phone interview to promote the recent DVD release of “Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel.”

But he’s only one man.  He can’t do everything.

Lee was reported to direct "Get Back," which tells the story of two music-obsessed friends who time-travel back to 1966 London, where one gets caught in a love triangle with John Lennon and Yoko Ono -- think “High Fidelity” meets “Back to the Future.”  But his participation is stuck on "pause."

“My involvement is a little bit on hold because I’m shooting the TNT show ["Memphis Beat"],” Lee said. “But that’s something I would like to continue to.  It’s just one of those things where lots of things come up, lots of things change. As a director, I was very excited about pursuing that. It’s a great script and it has a lot of potential. I think, just in general, I’d like to see it get made." [Updated at 9:09 a.m.: The original version of this post called the show "Delta Blues, an early title for the series. The post has been corrected to reflect the current title, "Memphis Beat."]

For now, he’s concentrating on “Delta.” The hour-long program centers on Dwight Hendricks (Lee), a Memphis police officer who lives with his mother. But don’t expect Lee to perfect the lip twitch in the new series. He won’t be playing a cop who moonlights as an Elvis impersonator, as some outlets have reported.

“It’s more of a guy from Memphis who really appreciates his city, the people, the music and its culture,” Lee said. “He definitely has a fondness for Elvis and his outlet is to perform, which I think makes the show really interesting and dynamic and unusual. There’s going to be a lot music on the show. A lot of the character performing -- not always performing Elvis tunes. We’ve been walking that line of respecting it and not making it silly.”

But the silly might come with a third installment in the “Alvin and the Chipmunks” franchise, which will be presented in 3-D and is expected to be released late next year.

--Yvonne Villarreal

Photo Credit: 20th Century Fox