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[K-Star’s Best Character] Gong Yoo, Who Became a Leading Actor in the Romance Genre After ‘Coffee Prince’

Edited by Hwang Hong Sun
Translated by Kim Hoyeun

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Credit: tvN

Gong Yoo became a leading actor in the romance genre with a considerate and sweet images in Goblin. But he wasn’t an actor who suited the romance genre from the get-go.

He first made a debut in the entertainment industry in 2000 through Mnet VJ and took on various comedy roles. Representatively, in My Tutor Friend, he appeared as a disorderly student who was jealous of Kwon Sang Woo and showed comedy acting. Since then, Gong Yoo has appeared in several works to raise his profile, but it got him worried that he didn’t have “his most famous work.” Then, he met Coffee Prince.

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Credit: MBC

Aired in 2007, the romantic comedy drama Coffee Prince tells the story of Choi Han Gyul, the grandson of chairwoman of Dong-in Foods, who falls in love with Go Eun Chan, a tomboy who pretends to be a man to work in a cafe ran by Choi Han Gyul. Gong Yoo played the role of Choi Han Gyul, captivated the hearts of women as he slowly fell in love with Go Eun Chan (Yoo Eun Hye) and eventually showing his all-in love. As Coffee Prince garnered sensational popularity, Gong Yoo was reevaluated and rose to stardom. 

In fact, it is said that Gong Yoo had a lot of concerns about starring in Coffee Prince. As he was about to join the military soon, he was skeptical about continuing his acting career for various reasons. During such time, he got an offer to star in Coffee Prince, but he was worried about whether he would be able to perform well in the romance genre, which he rarely worked on. After a long consideration, he decided to take on the role, and as a result, it provided him a significant turning point in his acting career. 

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Credit: MBC

After the success of Coffee Prince, Gong Yoo has grown into a leading actor in Korea, showing a solid presence not only in romance but also in other genres as well. He led the work by starring in the fantasy romance drama Goblin, which became as sensational as Coffee Prince, as well as the zombie movie Train to Busan, which surpassed 10 million viewers and spy thriller film The Age of Shadows. He also didn’t hesitate to appear in movies with strong social messages such as Silenced and Kim Ji-Young, Born 1982. In 2020, he will meet with the audience through SF film Seobok (literal translation) with actor Park Bo Gum. 

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