ELLEidol: Young and Promising, Match Made In Heaven

We get our second magazine cover of 2019 with the first digital issue of ELLEidol! ELLEidol was a new spinoff off of ELLE China that was launched last year and is geared towards a younger audience. Though it was already technically a digital issue, ELLE is trying to be innovative and hence, the official digital issue of the magazine was launched.

This is Haoran’s second time as the cover star of an inaugural issue of a ELLE spinoff (he was also one of the cover stars for the first issue of SuperELLE), and as fashion bloggers have noted, it speaks to his extremely close relationship with ELLE China editor-in-chief Xiao Xue.

(Article released on February 13, 2019)

Liu Haoran sits in front of the mirror in the dressing room. He’s getting his hair cut as we interview him. “I just got back to China (from Japan) at 2am in the morning, have a shoot this morning, and am flying again at two.” Though he has a very busy schedule, he talks about it very casually, “Because I just finished my break, I’m in pretty good condition right now.” He laughs as he explains himself, causing his eyes to curve and his signature tiger tooth to peek out.

People say, “In Liu Haoran, I can see what it means to grow up.” If you had to give him a character setup, rather than the “boyfriend” image or “boy” image that most male artists tend to push, Haoran would have traces of both.

For example, how honest he is, “I’ve pretty much rested for four months now. Not working is such a great feeling. I’m utterly relaxed. If there are new games, I can play it. If there are newmodels, I can buy it and work on putting it together.”

For example, his youthful confidence, “I wouldn’t be considered as a child who is obedient and listens well. During class, I will talk to my classmates and distract them, but every time we had a test, my scores were pretty good. Since I was a child, people have praised me for being smart.”

For example, the willfulness that he doesn’t bother to hide, “If one day I decide that I no longer like acting, I’ll probably do something else.”

The near sighted Liu Haoran doesn’t like wearing contacts, so his strong gaze and presence in front of the camera all depends on his acting. But whether what kind of state he’s in, it’s natural, and there is a light in his eyes that is impossible to hide.

He earned everyone’s attention through his performance as Song Ge in Beijing Love Story. Four years later, through his performance as Qin Feng in Detective Chinatown 2, he became the youngest best actor nominee in the history of the Hundred Flowers Awards.

As he takes on more and more roles, Liu Haoran has discovered, “In my acting, I’m less reliant on my natural reactions, and can display some of my own technique and preparation. For example, expressing an emotion in different ways. That’s what I should be learning and working hard on.”

Nirvana In Fire 2‘s Xiao Pingjing was a challenge for LIu Haoran, “Everyone around me were veteran actors. Sometimes, I’d stand by myself and watch them act, and would feel that they did a great job portraying their roles. But for me, no matter what, I couldn’t find the right feel. I was so frustrated to the point where I wanted to rip my wig off.”

The good thing was, he later adjusted to the environment around a TV drama, and would sit with the others in discussing a particular scene. They would only start filming once everyone felt comfortable.

It isn’t an exaggeration to say if you were to randomly grab someone and ask them about Liu Haoran’s projects, most would be able to name at least one or two. For an actor who is only in his early twenties, this kind of accomplishment will make you think of the term “naturally gifted”.

When asked about how much his natural talent plays a part into his acting, Liu Haoran hesitates and turns serious.

“We can’t deny that a lot of artists’ masterpieces come from sudden inspiration, but it’s impossible that’s the case for every project. I don’t think that everything should be attributed to natural talent, because in this world, there simply aren’t many people who are truly gifted. So if assuming ┬ánatural talent is equal, your hard work is more important. The people that you see who you think are ‘genius actors’ – if you look back on their work, you’ll realize that it’s more because of their accumulated experience and hard work.”

“Having acting techniques isn’t a bad thing. A lot of people think that once you incorporate techniques, your acting isn’t as pure or sincere. That’s not the case though. I think good actors can successfully convey sincerity in their acting even when using more technical elements.”

“If a Liu Haoran existed in a parallel universe, then he probably majored in math, and is working in the chemical or science related fields.” In a parallel universe, the Liu Haoran who is already known for high intelligence says he hopes to pursue his scientific dreams completely, and make up for the regret that he feels in his real life.

When asked how what’s the biggest difference between the Liu Haoran in the public’s eyes and the real him, Liu Haoran laughs, “Height, hahaha. I have a big head, and I don’t have a face that looks tall. Many people who see me are shocked to realize that I’m 185 cm.” His laugh is innocent, and he’s like a completely different person from the youth who was just seriously discussing acting techniques.

“I feel like I still haven’t grown up yet. Right now, I’m currently in a gray zone. If I take a step to the left, it’s a child, and on my right is an adult. So it’s very difficult to use one word to describe someone completely. People who are very mature will also have a childlike side, and that’s an adorable, good thing.”

The Liu Haoran who has a serious face when he’s on camera, and then is making silly faces in the next second…yes, he’s right.

ELLE: Your photos in Iceland previously made us all want to go there. Do you have any place you really want to go to?

LHR: Africa. (he went there a month later haha)

ELLE: Do you have resolutions for the New Year?

LHR: In the Year of the Pig, I hope I can have a long vacation again like the four months I had in 2018.

ELLE: During Chinese New Year, did you pass out red envelopes (of money) or did you receive them? (T/N: They are usually given to children/teens/younger generation – technically, he’d still qualify).

LHR: It’s been two years since I’ve received red envelopes, because the last couple of years, I haven’t spent the holiday at home. I’ve been on set, so there are no relatives to give me one. So I usually give them out – we’ll celebrate on set, eat the reunion dinner together, and we’ll draw for red envelope prizes.

ELLE: What are your next work plans?

LHR: I do have some work plans, but for now the projects under wraps. But everyone will find out soon. And what I can tell you is we’ll be filming Detective Chinatown 3 this year, which will hit theaters on Chinese New Year’s Day next year.

ELLE: Will you prepare surprises for your family on holidays? What do you give them?

LHR: I’ve given my sister a TIffany & Co. necklace before. She was incredibly happy. Girls typically like jewelry as presents.

ELLE: Can you give everyone a New Year blessing?

LHR: In 2019, may everyone have a better year than they did in 2018! Hope each year gets better and better for you.

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