Li Xian (Chinese: 李现; born 19 October 1991) is a Chinese actor. He began his acting career by playing minor role in the film Feng Shui (2012). His first major role came as a red fox in the adventure fantasy film Soul Snatcher (2020). Xian had his small-screen debut in the web series City of Fantasy (2014). His breakthrough role came in the esports drama, Go Go Squid! (2019). Xian appeared in Forbes Asia 100 Digital Stars list and Forbes China Celebrity 100 list in 2020.
Li Xian (Chinese: 李现) was born on October 19, 1991, in Xianning and grew up in Jingzhou, Hubei. Xian was educated at the Jingzhou Middle School in Jingzhou. In 2009, he planned to study STEM in college, but he failed the annual college entrance examination. So he retook the test and was enrolled in acting major at Beijing Film Academy in 2010. For the convenience of entry, Xian changed his Chinese name from "晛" to "现", which means "present".
2011–2018: Career beginnings and breakthrough
Xian began his acting career with a minor role in the director Wang Jing's film Feng Shui (2012) as a young Li Xaoli. He followed it with a role in the romantic teen film Singing When We're Young (2012). He made his small-screen debut in the first China's urban web series City of Fantasy (2014), in which he played a depressed young widower who rely on drugs to continue to live after his wife passed away named A Liang. Xian then appeared in the coming-of-age brotherhood web series, Who Sleeps My Bro (2016) as a troubled university student named Xie Xun. These part led him to being cast in the feature film adapted from the web series. He followed it with an appearance in the music video for the song I Am Jiang Xiaobai by Zhang Qi and the music video for the song Medals by Lu Han. Later Xian was cast in the esports romance film Love O2O (2016), playing an online game developer team named Yu Banshan. Also that year, he was cast in the first Chinese forensic web series Medical Examiner Dr. Qin as one of the investigative team criminal police captain, Lin Tao.
Xian's received his first starring role in the thriller detective web series Tientsin Mystic as the god river who is solves complicated case by his logical reason and judgement, Guo Deyou. To better depict the character, he learned the Mengzi dialect, freediving, snorkeling, and deep diving. He won a The Actors of China Awards for Outstanding Actor for the first time for the role in 2017. Xian then appeared in the film The Founding of an Army (2017), Luo Ronghuan . In 2018, Xian starred in the romance television series Only Side by Side with You as a special forces agent, Chang Jianxiong. He gained 20 pounds in 45 days for the role. Xian then made a special appearance in the web series urban drama Women in Shanghai as a fresh graduate who looking for a job in Shanghai named Chen Xiaowei. Also that year he was starring in film Nuts as intelligence university student, Xu Zicong.
Xian's breakthrough role came in the esports romantic comedy television series, Go Go Squid! (2019) based on the Mo Bao Fei Bao's novel Stewed Squid with Honey. He portrayed Han Shangyan, a passionate young man, who had dedicated his life to winning a world championship for China. The series was the most-streamed series in 2019. Xian was awarded The Actors of China Award for outstanding actor in 2019 and 2020 as well as his first nomination for the Huading Award for Best New Actor in 2019 for the role. Xian contributed to the soundtrack song For Future (Gei Wei Lai), which appeared on Billboard China Social Chart as well as Billboard China Top 100 for 10 weeks and peaked at Top 7. Xian then made a special appearance as an air traffic controller in the Chinese film The Captain, which was directed by Hong Kong's Andrew Lau Wai-keung and is based on a real-life mid-air crisis aboard a Sichuan Airlines flight. Xian was awarded Best Choice of Multi-Screen Communication for Influential Actor in 2020 for the role. Also that year he was starring in n the live action costume drama Sword Dynasty. He started sword training and physical training three months prior to the start of filming. Xian received a nomination at the Busan International Film Festival Asia Contents Award for best actor for the role.
2020–present: Film series and awards success
In 2020 Xian participated for the first time in the CCTV New Year's Gala where he performed "Hello 2020". In the same year he has two starring films postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic; The Enigma of Arrival and Soul Snatcher. He played Xiao Long in The Enigma of Arrival. Later, he made a special appearance as IT staff in the Chinese entry for the Best International Feature Film at the 93rd Academy Awards, Leap. Later he starring in Mei Feng first directed romance film Love Song 1980. The film was adapted from Yu Xiaodan's novel "The Lover in 1980". It follows this character which is set in the 1980s, facing the fate of the times and social waves, using love as a guide, seeking spiritual truth. Marko Stojiljković of Asian Movie Pulse wrote: "here is more than just a dash of everyman in Li Xian’s interpretation of Zheng Wen that could have been seen in some of the finest European actors of the past (for instance, Marcello Mastroianni),..." His final film of the year was in Song Haolin's f adventure fantasy film Soul Snatcher Xian sang the soundtrack title Glorious Future (Qian Cheng Si jin) with Chen Linong, which peaked at No. 8 on Billboard China Social Chart.