I discovered Zhu Yilong back in 2018 when I watched the Chinese Drama Guardian and immediately knew I found a great actor. Zhu Yilong makes every character he plays his own as he has the talent of conveying emotions through his eyes and using subtle mimic to deliver a message. He doesn’t need words to make you understand what his character is going through. You can see the joy, concern, heartbreak or struggle right there and it never fails to make me emotionally attached.
After watching several dramas and movies of his it was only logical to write an article about him. I must have been crazy though when I decided that this should be my first article.
I tried my best to avoid spoilers but I’m not perfect so please read at your own discretion.
Trivia: Yilong has a lot of nicknames, for example Zhu Laoshi (Lǎoshī is Chinese for Teacher), Long Long, or Long Ge (Chinese gēge means “elder brother”).
Let’s take a look at his beginnings.
EARLY LIFE AND DEBUT
Zhu Yilong was born in Wuhan and learned to play piano in his childhood. Following his mothers wish, he gave acting a try to see if he would be accepted into a school for actors which promptly happened. In 2006 he was admitted to the undergraduate class of the Acting Department of Beijing Film Academy and graduated in June 2010 with a Bachelor's degree.
Zhu Yilong made his debut in 2008 in the TV movie Zai Sheng Yuan where he played the role of Ruan Ying. Being in the business for 12 years (he claims he’s been an actor for 10 years, he starts counting from 2010), Zhu Yilong has over 20 dramas and 40 movies under his belt. I wonder if this guy ever sleeps.
His debut role was followed by many other lead roles in movies such as The Stolen Bride, Bloody Mansion, Deep Sorrow Cloud, The White Fox Spirit and Drum Youth. His first dramas were Marry In and Get Married, Fanjingshan Story, Wang Yang Ming, Da Ming Pin Fei and Jia Yan.
In 2014 he played in the drama Love for Three Lifetimes which earned him his first mainstream recognition and also an award for Most Promising Actor.
His recognition rose with his roles in the dramas Legend of Mi Yue, My Love to Tell You, The Shaw Eleven Lang, for which he won another award as Best Supporting Actor, and Border Town Prodigal.
Despite being a rising actor by then, the year 2018 could be considered his big breakthrough. The explosive interest in him was justified, though, as he surprised the audience with his outstanding acting of three different characters in the drama Guardian and also contributing the song “Time Flight” together with his co-star Johnny Bai. In 2018 he won 7 awards, a result he topped just one year later with 11 awards.
Guardian was my first in many categories. My first Chinese Drama, my first drama with Zhu Yilong, my first drama after a long hiatus from dramas in general and my first all time favorite. I think dearly of it because it made me stick to dramas and opened this fantastic world for me.
Also I was so emotionally attached and in love with it that I started rewatching with a friend before I even finished it myself. So technically I watched it twice at the same time. I regret nothing by the way.
Guardian is a drama that lives from its cast in my opinion. The cast’s chemistry was amazing and Zhu Yilong and Johnny Bai brought their characters to life in such a great way that I still root for them 2 years later and went on a third rewatch.
Zhu Yilong played the roles of Shen Wei, a university professor, the Black-Cloaked Envoy, a mysterious masked figure from Dixing, and Ye Zun, someone who’s holding a grudge against mankind. Looking at his roles you might think they have nothing in common and you’re quite right about this. They are all so individual that it led people to ask Zhu Yilong in interviews if he got confused while playing his characters. Looking at his performance, the answer is a clear no. He gives each character their own trademarks. It was astounding to see that even if they share the same visual, the expression alone is completely different, not to mention the way they talk or move. I had to remind myself that it’s still the same actor.
In short, if I would have to name one drama I’ll never get tired, of it’s Guardian.
This was my second drama and yes, it lacked the English subtitles when I first watched it. Now that this drama is fully subbed (a jump of happiness on my side), I came back to it for a rewatch and realized that I understood more than I previously thought.
Zhu Yilong’s role is the second oldest brother Hua Wuxie of the rich Hua Family and he’s in love with the princess Qingcheng who (to his dismay) only has eyes for his older brother Hua Man Tian, who is in love with his friend Xie Qianxun. Due to certain circumstances, the two girls switch faces and this is the start of dramatic but also funny misunderstandings.
The character of Wuxie immediately grew on me. He’s so cute and caring and despite the unrequited love he never gives up on the princess and supports her in any way he can. He doesn’t shy away from a fight when he deems it necessary to protect those he loves and also speaks out when he sees injustice. For me it was an enjoyable watch simply for the characters and their interactions.
My third drama with Zhu Yilong and it made me suffer but let me explain.
Zhu Yilong plays the complex character Fu Hong Xue, who lives his life for one purpose, revenge on the man who killed his father. Things get tangled up when he falls in love with none other than his enemy's daughter.
Fu Hong Xue is a pitiful character in my opinion. Wherever he goes, there’s the lingering shadow of revenge and betrayal which taints his existence and hope for a life in freedom and without worries.
To sum it up all up, my suffering was based on watching him suffer and struggle.
The fourth drama and probably the one I have the most controversial feelings about. Zhu Yilong’s character He Kaixin is literally squished when the female lead Ai Mi Er falls on top of him during their first meeting.
Shortly after, she claims to be his new maid and hilarious chaos ensues. While this drama has its ridiculous acting moments and weak story parts it’s worth a try because the chemistry of the leads is full of humor and charm.
This was my very first period drama and I loved it, at first. This sort of changed a bit after completing it because it also made me realize that I really have no patience for love triangles and plots that make friends turn into ruthless enemies, but putting that aside, we get a decent romantic drama here with a good cast and interesting characters. I couldn’t help myself and fell for the bold yet charming character of Luo Fusheng (Zhu Yilong). The drama tells the love story that transcends three lifetimes in China from the 1920’s to modern day.
Luo Fusheng is one of the roles I like the most, because Zhu Yilong shined in this drama. I mean honestly, isn't his look in the drama pure eye candy?
Trivia: He once more played three roles in one drama.
Latest drama I watched with Zhu Yilong. Now if someone still doubted that I’m a fan of him, let’s just say that if it weren’t for Zhu Yilong, I might not have watched this. I avoid the genre horror like the devil some holy water. I swear jump scares were invented for me cause they make me jump, literally. Nonetheless, I enjoyed this drama a lot.
Zhu Yilong follows several colleagues before him and plays the role of Wu Xie, who traded his adventures for a normal life in this continuation of the The Lost Tomb series. Yet a mysterious message from his missing uncle Wu San Xing makes Wu Xie and his friends go on a search and dive into a new adventure.
This drama was a victim of the censorship of China which is noticeable especially in the plot as some things just don’t sum up and scenes are not logically connected due to cut parts in between, in the first season it's more noticeable though than in the second. Still, the drama is great and that’s because of the cast, characters and the chemistry between them.
OTHER DRAMA ROLES
Zhu Yilong plays the role of Qi Heng, a famous noble son in the capital who loves Ming Lan but family, emperor heir change and other reasons stand in the way.
His role is Pang Jia, a subordinate of the accident department in the Traffic Detachment of the Public Security Bureau. Jia is coming from a rich background, but unwilling to inherit the family business and has been hiding his identity.
Zhu Yilong is playing Jing Ran, an interior designer, who is a rational, restrained and self-principled person. His designs lack breath of life though until he discovers the problem behind it and gets to know his mother better.
Chen Yiming is gentle, meticulous, and has a strong sense of morality and responsibility. When he suffers from unemployment his self-esteem drops and causes differences with his girlfriend Li Siyu.
|The Rebel (2021)|
Zhu Yilong as Lin Nan Sheng
China Republican Era drama that revolves around intelligence officers during the revolutionary times in Shanghai.
Wrapped up filming at 28. August 2020.
Broadcast premiere is set for 2021.
Zhu Yilong as Ke Ze
This drama tells the story of a violinist genius, Pei Shi, who suffered the loss of her parents at a young age and betrayal. After disappearing for five years she comes back under a new identity and plans her revenge.
- 2015 Asian Influence Awards Oriental Ceremony: Most Promising Actor (Love for Three Lifetimes)
- 2017 13th TV Drama South Awarding Ceremony: Best Supporting Actor (The Shaw Eleven Lang)
- 2017 InStyle iLady Icon Awards: Trending Actor of the Year
- 2018 14th TV Drama South Awarding Ceremony: Male Lead of the Year (Border Town Prodigal)
- 2018 Weibo Movie Awards Ceremony: Popularity Award
- 2018 15th Esquire Man At His Best Awards: Most Promising Actor
- 2018 Powerstar Award Ceremony: Most Influential Actor
- 2018 10th China TV Drama Awards: Charismatic Young Actor (Guardian)
- 2018 Q China Music Awards:
- Most Popular Soundtrack (Time of Flight)
- Most Popular Crossover Singer
- 2019 Weibo Awards Ceremony: Weibo God Award
- 2019 Film and TV Role Model 2018 Ranking: Actor of the Year (Guardian)
- 2019 Hubei Internet Summit: Person of the Year
- 2019 Film and TV Role Model 2019 Ranking: Most Popular Supporting Actor (The Story of Ming Lan)
- 2019 4th Golden Spider Academic Award:
- 2019 GQ 2019 Men of the Year: Goodwill Ambassador
- 2019 4th China Quality Television Drama Ceremony:
- Most Commercially Valuable Star
- Sina Weibo Most Talked About Celebrity Online
- 2019 6th The Actors of China Award Ceremony: Best Actor (Emerald Category) (The Story of Ming Lan, My True Friend)
- 2019 Powerstar Awards Ceremony: Most Popular Chinese Actor
- 2020 China Literature Awards Ceremony: Quality Actor of the Year
NOT JUST AN ACTOR
Besides his natural acting talent he also has a really good singing voice. Zhu Yilong recorded more tracks for his dramas and if you go on a search, you find quite some videos of him on stage performing.
|Here’s a little compilation:|
Love For Three Lifetimes - Eternal Star (恒星)
Royal Sister Returns - Crazy Love (疯狂的爱)
Granting You a Dreamlike Life - Granting You a Dreamlike Life (许你浮生若梦)
Reunion: The Sound of Providence - Reboot (重启) & Jumping Downward (往下跳) & Iron Triangle (铁三角)
To Dear Myself - Dear Self (亲爱的自己) & Dear You (亲爱的你)
In 2019, Zhu Yilong released his first personal photobook called “Depart” which contains photos that were taken in Sydney, Australia.
- Zhu Yilong is afraid of chickens (he said so himself in an interview), which makes the fact that he made an advertisement for Kentucky Fried Chicken sound like an act of revenge
- He can play the piano and guitar, for his role in My True Friend he learned to play violin
- He is quite introverted, his Guardian Co-Star Johnny Bai described his first impression of Zhu Yilong as “This man is elegant yet cold” and “distant” but once you interact with him you realize he’s “actually a nice guy” and “easy to hang out with”
- Zhu loves animals, he has two dogs and an ant farm
- He cares a lot about his surroundings and is thoughtful, when he thought one of his ants looked depressed he named her “Shining Girl” hoping that would cheer her up
- Zhu Yilong loves kids, he befriended his little co-star for PhantaCity within a short time and played with her on set
- Zhu Yilong has two wax figures, one in Madame Tussauds Hong Kong and one in Madame Tussauds Shanghai, which also makes him the first actor who joined two Madame Tussauds at the same time
- In 2019 Zhu Yilong became Global Ambassador of WWF (World Wildlife Fund For Nature)
Writing this Fan Guide for Zhu Yilong revealed two things to me:
- He achieved so much and there are so many interesting things about him that it’s impossible to put it all in one article unless I made an encyclopedia out of it
- The biggest struggle was not to write an article but to decide what to include and what could be left out aka the hardships of a fan who could talk/write endlessly about her favorite actors and dramas
Have you seen a drama/movie with Zhu Yilong yet?
I hope you enjoyed my first article on MDL.
Thank you for reading!
Wikipedia (Author G-Hewan): Title Photo of Article
Weibo: First Photo
Baidu 朱一龙 Basic Information Photo
MingBox: Depart Photobook pictures
v.qq.com: Drama Zai Sheng Yuan picture
MDL: For drama infos and upcoming drama covers
DramaWiki: Awards Info
Madame Tussauds: For Info
All other pictures/screenshots/gifs are taken/made by me.