To say that I like this man would be a complete understatement. Ok, ok, I don’t actually know Gong Yoo. I’ve never met the guy in person and only know what I do based on what I’ve read about him in the news and what I’ve seen him do in dramas and movies. But, despite this – I still can say that he’s one of my favorite Korean actors and that I respect him as a person.
In fact, I was actually just talking about him the other week with one of my classmates while we were sitting outside and soaking in the spring sunshine and cherry blossoms. We were talking about different Korean stars who attend our university (Kyung Hee) and I mentioned that Gong Yoo was a master’s degree student RIGHT AT THIS MOMENT! There was definitely a collective groan realizing that he probably attends at the Seoul Campus and we’d never get to really meet him in passing (different campuses, different departments). ..but two girls can dream can’t they?!?!!
The first thing I totally give Gong Yoo credit for is he’s really smart with choosing his roles. He’s been in the entertainment industry for over 10 years and while he hasn’t done a crap ton of work in that time – everything that I’ve ever seen him in has seriously been quality. Take last year’s Korean drama BIG for example. I get it that it had an ambiguous ending and people weren’t happy with the script which kind of made the whole drama – well.. just ok. Nevertheless I still have to give Gong Yoo serious credit. He hadn’t done a television drama in 5 years.. and he totally nailed the acting that the role required. The floppage (so to speak) of the drama wasn’t his fault. I totally got caught up in him and kind of just tried to ignore the rest of the characters.
Another thing I really like about Gong Yoo’s roles is that they’ve intentionally or unintentionally made lasting contributions to Korean society. This cannot be understated, and furthermore can hardly be compared to many other actors here. While he was doing his military service, he read the novel “Dokani” and got the idea to turn it into a movie. The movie is violent – and nothing like the rest of his work – and you probably don’t want to watch it if you’re sensitive. BUT, this movie helped to shed light on a serious problem in Korea, brought people to justice and changed laws. I love that Gong Yoo is the type of actor that doesn’t just sit by when he sees something that should be done. I dig a pro-active man. Especially pro-active mens who try to make the world a better place doing what they do best.
Speaking of making the world a better place – Coffee Prince! Alright, I’ve been in Korea for over 4 years now and I’ve seen a lot of changes take place. Rick however, lived here for a year in 2002 and noticed quite a few differences when he came back in 2008, one of which is coffee shops! I don’t think it’s strictly his imagination and I’ve talked to various students (university age) who’ve said that before 2007 and Coffee Prince – that coffee shops weren’t really such a big thing in Korea. Oh how the times have changed. I get it, watching the whole interactions between coworkers and the gorgeous beverages in the Coffee Prince shop kinda made me want to be a barista myself. Heck, I drool thinking about that luscious black liquid transformed into a latte with an artistic flair. That one drama had the ability to help people realize the nectar of the gods (ok I’m dramatizing I know) but it’s fantastic!
There’s coffee shops all over Korea now. Heck, there’s coffee shops across from coffee shops next to coffee shops. I ain’t kidding! I’ve sat in Dunkin Donuts in Hongdae and stared out the window and into the 2nd story window of the coffee shop across the alleyway. A majority of date and hangout places occur in either coffee shops, restaurants or bangs, and I now cannot imagine Korea without the coffee shop. Thanks in part to Gong Yoo and Coffee Prince I don’t have to!!!! Coffee Coffee Coffee!!!
And did I mention he’s got a new movie coming out this year?? SQUEE!!!!!