LEON China and LEON Young: Child of the Wind

Liu Haoran takes the cover of LEON China and LEON Young for the March 2019 issues! He is the first artist to appear on the covers of both magazines for the same month.

There are two covers that were released for the main LEON China – one for Louis Vuitton, and one for Tiffany & Co.’s Save the Wildlife collection.

The LEON Young cover was sponsored by Puma (Haoran is one of the brand spokespersons for the brand in China). Both shoots were taken in Japan, and I swear this was the fasted turnaround ever – the covers were revealed about a week after Haoran came back from the trip.

(LEON China – March 2019 issue)

From the student Song Ge who was struck by first love, to the straight forward, sunshiny deskmate Yu Huai, the genius detective Qin Feng who can crack any case, the spirited and enthusiastic general Su Yu, the passionate young crane youth, the dignified and striking son of Changlin, to the gentle and peaceful monarch of Novoland…it’s been five years since he debuted.

The cheerful youth and the steady gentleman…the twenty two year old (T/N: they’re counting age by the Lunar Calendar) Liu Haoran has achieved an amazing balance between the two. He is pure, natural, simple, dependable, and has compared the ebbs and flows of fate to the wind. The him that’s continuing to grow up is waiting for the wind to rise in Novoland.

Novoland: Eagle Flag is adapted from Jiang Nan’s epic fantasy novels, and describes the coming of age story of a young hero in a world of chaos. Liu Haoran, who is a fan of the source novels, plays the character of Lv Guixhen.

“Novoland is an extremely vast universe, from its dynasties, to the land that it covers, the backgrounds of all the tribes and races. They are all very distinct. It’s a very Eastern-based fantasy universe, and Eagle Flag is an exciting story that happens within it.” When he read the source novel, Liu Haoran really liked the character of Lv Guichen, but could never have imagined that one day he would be able to portray the role.

He says, “Lv Guichen has a very strong will. Even when he was weak and small, he did everything in his power to protect his loved ones. He experiences many things, but still is able to maintain his peaceful and gentle nature. He doesn’t have many desires, but in his heart, he holds tightly to the idea of ‘world peace’. I really admire his determination.”

On how he is similar to the character of Lv Guichen, Haoran says, “His gentle spirit but strong will is quite similar to me, and the way that he tries to maintain a warm attitude towards the world despite experiencing so much is something I’ve always tried to attain.” The difference between them? “I’ve been healthy and strong since I was little. He has a weaker physique.”

This isn’t Liu Haoran’s first time portraying a young hero. Before, he played Nirvana in Fire 2‘s Xiao Pinging, “These two roles are quite different. Pingjing grew up very smoothly, and was blessed with natural talent. Though he encountered many difficulties, he was protected very well since he was a child. That’s not the case for Lv Guichen. He grew up on the plains but was not capable of protecting himself. He experienced war and massacres since he was little, has lost loved ones and relatives, looked down by others, etc. He was broken first, and then grew up.”

Novoland: Eagle Flag was filmed in the dry and frigid Xinjiang, and later in the blazing hot Xiangyang. Though Liu Haoran’s had quite a few works now, he won’t easily forget the harsh filming conditions. The drama started filming in November of 2017, and took 288 days to complete filming. He says, “I hope that everyone will like this drama, that our efforts will be rewarded.”

Over the Chinese New Year, Liu Haoran went to Wudang Mountain. “It was snowing hard that day, and took about seven or eight hours to make it up the mountain. As I was hiking, I wasn’t thinking about anything. All I could see was the white snow, and all I could think about was making it up to the peak. That pure feeling (of having just one goal and going for it) was pretty good.”

Before we wondered, how after five years, Liu Haoran has not lost a bit of that youthful aura. When he shared his hiking story, the answer was clear: pure. Youth is pure and simple , and will go after a goal with no hesitation, no complicated thoughts or worries.

In Detective Chinatown, the genius young detective Qin Feng that he plays also stutters. In order to play the part well, Liu Haoran took a pen “and marked all the dialogue breaks, where to stutter”. The first couple of scenes, he followed his designated marks to stutter, but through continuous practice, it became more of habit and a result of muscle memory.

Liu Haoran began to stutter in real life as well. He laughs as he recalls when he was in line delivery class at the Central Academy of Drama, he stuttered a bit, which drove the teacher crazy. He was asked how he got into the school, and if he really placed first in the major. It was only over a month later that Liu Haoran was able to speak normally again.

In normal life, Liu Haoran is very lax about his appearance – it just has to be simple and comfortable. But if a role requires it, he will be extremely disciplined with himself. When he first auditioned for The Legend of the Demon Cat, Director Chen Kaige said to the Liu Haoran who had a bit of baby fat, “You’re pretty good, just a little chubby. Maybe lose a bit of weight.” From then on, he stopped eating dinner, and worked out every day. In two months, he lost 10kg. That’s how we had the striking white crane youth.

He has grown up with every project and role. Aside from his youthful aura, we have seen Liu Haoran continue to make breakthroughs, and he’s grown both steady and confident. As he’s produced more material, he’s also shown more of a layered self.

February 14 marks Liu Haoran’s 5 year anniversary since debut. From Beijing Love Story’s green Song Ge to Novoland: Eagle Flag’s gentle Lv Gui Chen, one successful project after another has been a testimony to this youth’s growth. He’s clean and simple, steady and grounded, determined and pure. He says, “I’m pretty satisfied with my current self. I hope the future me will also be pleased by my future self.” When we talk about the future, his plans are the same as they’ve always been: be a good actor, be a good person.

And it’s precisely because of Liu Haoran’s refined aura and the focus, confidence, and daring that flows out of him that he was able to collaborate with luxury fashion brand Louis Vuitton for their new Tambour Horizon campaign.

Not long ago, in Louis Vuitton’s global Tambour Horizon ad campaign (Haoran was one of four international celebrities in the campaign), Liu Haoran is seen wearing a trench coat with the watch on his wrist. He’s dignified and gentleman-like, confident and trendy. It allowed us to see yet another side of the youth. This accomplished young man has always given great performances, whether it’s in film or on variety shows, and in fashion as well, he is full of charisma.

(LEON Young China – March 2019 issue)

On Valentine’s Day five years ago, the young uniform wearing youth who rode his bicycle as he pursued his first love left a lasting impression on audiences. In these five years, he has portrayed different roles that have left their marks in the heart of viewers. From a student to a genius detective, from a fiery young general to a hero among chaos…what hasn’t changed is his youth, his determination to grow up naturally. He…is Liu Haoran.

When we talk about what he’s been up to, Liu Haoran says, “This collab with LEON is my first photoshoot after Chinese New Year’s. Soon, I will have a lot of work, many of which are still in the secret phase. I’ll share when it’s appropriate. Aside from that, How To Train Your Dragon 3, which I dubbed for in the Chinese version, hits theaters March 1. Hope everyone can support this film.”

His drama Novoland: Eagle Flag will also meet the audience this year. He believes he will not easily forget the challenges of this drama, nor his expectations for it, “The projects I’ve done before…I’ve never filmed in such harsh conditions before.”

We ask him what other roles he wants to try. He says he hopes to continue to try different types of roles, “I like trying new things. Like playing an antagonist, something that’s more artsy, or a more crazy character. If there’s an opportunity, I’d like to give it all a shot.”

After five years in the industry, he believes that his biggest changes have been, “I’m thinner, and bolder now. I’ve accumulated more knowledge and experience in the last few years, and am more confident now when I take on roles.”

We are curious what he does in his leisure time, and he tells us, “I stay at home and play games, work on putting models together, look over scripts, watch films….these are all my hobbies. It’s nothing special, whatever is comfortable works.”

When we talk about what he likes to eat, Liu Haoran reveals that he’s a foodie, “As long as there’s good food, I’ll love it.” We ask if he normally watches what he eats and he replies, “Normally, I don’t.”

If he had to pick a city to reside in, he would choose Beijing, “Right now, it would be Beijing, because it’s easy to work this way.” We ask him what colors he associates with March, and he tells us, “Green, or light yellow, because Spring is coming. When willow trees start to wake up, they’ll sprout small yellow leaves, so I’m reminded of that in March.”

We ask him how he exercises, and he says, “I like basketball and skiing. But I’ll also go jogging on a normal basis, and ride my bike. For fitness, it’s all about persistence.”

Liu Haoran’s collaboration with Puma this time has a lot of movement and dancing cuts, “I really enjoy wearing Puma on a day to day basis, because it’s very comfortable. The collaboration this time was a lot of fun. When I filmed the commercial, I even danced a little bit of street dance. It was really interesting.”

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