Wu Lei: From Nation's Little Brother To A Handsome Grownup


Leo Wu 吴磊 is a Chinese actor born on December 26, 1999 in Shanghai. He came from Huangpu district in Shanghai  as listed on his official weibo account but his family roots originated from China's Sichuan province. 

He began his career in 2002 before he turned three appearing in numerous television commercials.

Left: Wu Lei made his acting debut as the young version of Hu Ge in The Young Warriors. Right: as little Ne Zha with Fan Bingbing in The Legend and The Heroes

Wu Lei as he is known in China, made his acting debut in 2006 as the young version of Hu Ge in "The Young Warriors". He began making a name as a child actor in "The Legend and the Heroes" in 2007 as the young Ne Zha.

He climbed to fame when he appeared in another television drama, "Home with Aliens" in 2009, followed by "Naughty Boy Xiaotiao Ma" in 2010 where he won the award, Outstanding Child Actor, at the Flying Apsaras Awards, one of China's most prestigious awards for television.

Wu Lei as a child star

He eventually earned the title, "Nation's Little Brother", and fans loved him due to his bubbly personality and unique sense of humor.

However, it was his remarkable role in Nirvana in Fire (2015) as Fei Liu, where he reunited with Hu Ge, that sealed his rise to international stardom.

With Fan Bingbing in The Legend and The Heroes

He made his film debut in 2006 in "Legend of Northern Wei". His first leading role in a drama series as a young star was in 2017 web drama, "Magic Star".

A Young Veteran Actor

However, Leo, though young, is already considered a veteran in acting compared to other young actors in China today. He has been in the entertainment industry for 18 years now.

He reaped numerous acting awards, citations and nominations. He is a versatile actor and considered a premier performer in wuxia drama.

He can do action scenes, even the most complex sequences. He has enough trainings in martial arts, horseback riding and archery, the skills needed to thrive in the highly competitive C-entertainment industry.

Leo is considered one of the fewest actors of C-drama today who is expert in wuxia fight scenes. 

When he took the entrance examination in 2018 at the Beijing Film Academy, Asia's top film school, he performed a sword dance as an audition piece. That year, he earned the highest score among the entrance examinees to take performing arts studies at BFA.

Leo Wu as a young C-Drama heartthrob

But things always change. We progress. We evolve. We move on with life. And we could only grasp, "Why time flies so very fast?"

As Fei Liu in Nirvana in Fire

Yes, the once adorable "Nation's little brother" is now a handsome man with sexy eyes, athletic physique and near-to-perfection smile. 

He is now taller than Fei Liu of course, with well-developed muscles, broader shoulder, a well-toned chest, athletic long legs muscles. And of course, sexy eyes.

Wu Lei frolicking in the beach during a shoot for a sunscreen brand

The child that C-Drama fans once adored, is now known as the Bamboo shoot boyfriend of Dilraba Dilmurat (his partner in The Long Ballad).

He is charming. He is a phenomenon. He is an actor with an exceptional talent. Skilled in so many aspects in acting. He has grown so tall and handsome.

As Yang Ping in "Shadow"

He is also in his last year in college. And with that, his maturity surfaces, both physical and mental. 

He is one of the fewest C-Drama actors who can carry a witty and smart conversation. He spoke with eloquence and can provide intelligent responses in many of his interviews.

Wu Lei for Bulgari

He truly evolves into a grown-up man, a talented and versatile actor who is more than ready to take serious roles. 

He is no longer the child star we once knew. So it's time for C-Drama fans to view him as a young-adult actor, and not as a teenage star anymore.

As Ashile Sun in The Long Ballad with Dilraba Dilmurat

He is ready to fall in love! Yes, just like any regular men out there, Leo, most likely, is now ready to take bigger responsibilities in life, whoever is the lucky girl, we can just hope for the best.

Flying to the Ground

In December 2019 when he turned 20, he released a book with an English translation, "Flying to the Ground", a compilation of his personal thoughts, and poignant insights, about his life's journey and what he looks forward in his career and personal life.

Wu Lei spent his 22nd birthday in the wilderness

It's great to read his deep thoughts and personal essay about his interesting journey, and how he would wake up in a different hotel almost every day because of works.

He is a passionate story teller and adventurous in his retelling of events in his life and career. His growth can also be summarized in all the roles he portrayed in the drama. 

Some are warriors who retain the fun side, others are fighters who take revenge for the love of his family, Above all, he is a prototype of a prolific artist who wants to evolve in his journey.

Wu lei on his cycling adventure

Leo also developed a passion for outdoor adventure and road trip. He likes to hit the road on his bike. And makes everyone loves his vibrant personality in all his adventures.

He spent his 22nd birthday in the grassland, exploring the wilderness and snowcapped mountains on a horseback ride, an adventure he also called "flying on the ground". 

The trip showed his agile personality and love for the off-the-beaten track adventure. And how he savors life away from the maddening crowd.

His exhilarating mountain trip gave his fans a glimpse of his personality as the Leo Wu who loves the outdoor life, who loves being on the road.

Leo expresses his desire to transition to more mature roles now that he is 22 and seems no longer interested to perform in the idol drama genre. 

Currently, he is filming "Dwelling by the West Lake", a movie that centers on a mother and son relationship. But so far, no news whether he will make a web/television series this year.  

Wu Lei for RARE clothing brand

Leo finally outgrown his "nation's little brother" image. He is a fully-grown up charming leading man now who can independently carry a big drama on his own. 

Establishing his unique personal brand

Wu Lei is one of the fewest C-Drama stars who doesn't follow the common trend of "traffic actors", the term used for Chinese celebrities who relied on "internet data" or those too commercialized personalities, to establish a popular branding. 

Leo, however, focuses more on enhancing his craft as a serious actor, maintaining a clean image and establishing his own brand as an independent personality with a wholesome image. 

Wu Lei is not a liuliang actor

This personal branding style sounds effective for Wu Lei as he rises to popularity without the help of traffic data. He has not gotten also into trouble with water armies. 

His solo fan base doesn't behaved the way those star-chasing fan base of liuliang actors are behaving - spamming searches with obsessed comments and topics that incite troubles.

Liuliang is a term in the C-Drama fandom referring to a celebrity with a star-chasing fan base that generates high traffic or data.

Supertopic in social media, weibo followers, posts and comments, likes, retweets etcetera are data that can be purchased by a particular celebrity to enhance its image.

However, it has a downside, and bad effects to the celebrity as it sometimes causes fan wars. 

This might be one reason why Wu Lei separates himself from this trend and chooses to be just known as simply himself and his acting talent.

Being a liuliang celebrity is entirely based on the PR strategy of a particular star implemented by his or her PR team. They can choose to follow that trend or create their own branding based on talents and personal image without resorting to dirty tricks of purchasing data.

We will post a separate topic about liuliang actors in our next article, just visit this site from time to time.

Wu Lei as LOEWE's brand spokesperson

Fun Facts About Wu Lei:

  1. He is a dog lover. He has a dog named Xiaobei, a homeless dog he rescued during the filming of Cross Fire in 2019.
  2. Hobbies: horseback riding, basketball
  3. He can play the guitar
  4. He is a good cook
  5. He likes spicy dishes
  6. Height: 6'0
  7. Talent agency: Wu Lei studio
  8. He grew up in Huangpu district, Shanghai
  9. He likes green color
  10. Fandom name: iLeiMe
  11. Fandom color: Green

Current global brands he endorsed:

  1. Bulgari
  2. LOEWE apparels
  3. LOEWE perfumes
  4. Moose Knuckles
  5. MAC
  6. Maxwell coffee
  7. Michael Kors
  8. PEAK
  9. RARE
  10. Sisley Paris

Social Media

  1. Weibo吴磊 LEO
  2. Instagram: LeoWu1226

Some of Wu Lei's most memorable projects and their released date:

Movies:

1. S.M.A.R.T Chase - 2017
2. Into the Rainbow - 2017
3. Azura - 2018
4. Shadow - 2018
5. Adoring - 2019
6. Upcoming Summer - 2021
7. My Country, My Parents - 2021

Web/Television series as a young star:

1. The Whirlwind Girl (1 and 2) - 2015, 2016
2. Nirvana in Fire season 1 - 2015
3. The Classic of Mountains and Seas - 2016
4. Magic Star - 2017
5.  The Tomb of Sea - 2018
6.  Battle Through The Heavens - 2018
7.  Guardians of the Ancient Oath - 2020
8. Crossfire - 2020
10. Our Times - 2021

Upcoming Projects:

1. Dwelling by the West Lake (movie)
2. Worthy Trip (movie with Hu Ge)
3. Love Like The Galaxy (series)
4. Nothing But Love (series)

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