6 Gong Yoo Projects Which Showcase His Incredible Range As An Actor

The timeless Goblin who remains the eternal Prince of Coffee of every K-drama fan’s heart, there is no denying Gong Yoo’s remarkable screen presence and irresistible charm. From a flirty Casanova to a gallant romantic or a man with a mission, Gong Yoo’s brilliance as a performer and impeccable acting abilities make him one of the most sought after stars.

Here are six of Gong Yoo’s projects which highlight his incredible versatility and panache.

Coffee Prince

Gong Yoo’s Choi Han Gyul from “Coffee Prince” remains the ultimate man for all seasons and an iconic character in K-dramaland. On first sight, Choi Han Gyul is a classic case of a privileged handsome and rich spoiled brat who has everything going for him. But this soon changes after he meets the tomboyish Go Eun Chan (Yoon Eun Hye), who hustles between several jobs to make a living. Han Gyul is avoiding his grandmother’s constant efforts to set up blind dates and comes up with a novel plan, which only backfires. He asks Eun Chan to pose as his gay lover, so as to avoid being set-up, only to find himself struggling with his feelings towards Eun Chan. Unbeknownst to him, Eun Chan is a woman, and Han Gyul questions his own sexual identity. He is open-minded and has no qualms in defying society and its norms if that’s his reality since his feelings toward Eun Chan run deep. However, once her identity is revealed and they tide through their misunderstandings, we see another facet of Han Gyul’s personality. He is an extremely progressive man and a supportive boyfriend who does not come in the way of his girlfriend’s ambitions but rather encourages her to pursue her dreams.

If this Han Gyul sounds too good to be true, he is, and Gong Yoo has immortalized him forever.

Start watching “Coffee Prince”:

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Guardian: The Lonely and Great God

Yet another of Gong Yoo’s enduring performances, “Guardian: The Lonely and Great God” continues to be a perpetual favorite amongst fans. Kim Shin aka the Goblin, once a general in the royal army, has been cursed to immortality. A sword wedged in the middle of his chest, the only way he can only overcome this fate is by meeting the one woman who is destined to be his bride. Centuries have gone by, but the Goblin who is now 999 years old has yet to meet this woman. As the handsome Goblin roams the earth, he meets the orphaned Ji Eun Tak (Kim Go Eun). Eun Tak can see ghosts and can even call upon the Goblin and could well be the woman he has been waiting for all these years. As the Goblin’s housemate, the Grim Reaper (Lee Dong Wook) keeps an eye on Eun Tak since she has shifted the balance of fates and messed up his bookkeeping as well. A bittersweet relationship develops between the Goblin and Eun Tak. He opens a magical world for her, and for the first time, the cold aching place in his heart feels warm. But he is hesitant for her to remove the sword… why?

A poignant and heartrending story, “Guardian: The Lonely and Great God” has one of the most amazing soundtracks as well. And the bromance between the Goblin and Grim Reaper is one of the best of all time.

Start watching “Guardian: The Lonely and Great God”:

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Train to Busan

“Train to Busan” remains a cult classic and sees Gong Yoo play Seok Woo, a busy fund manager and an emotionally unavailable man. Seok Woo is a divorced father and is rather reluctantly accompanying his daughter on a train to Busan. However, what could have been a regular journey turns into a nightmare of flesh eating zombies after a plague outbreak. As havoc breaks on the train, Seok Woo is faced with his biggest challenge and ordeal which is to save his daughter. But can they manage to escape alive from the apocalypse? As co-passengers turn merciless, it is a case of survival of not only the fittest but the smartest as they dodge each other and the zombies. “Train to Busan” is a taut and pacy narrative — the fear factor and the suspense keep one riveted. Gong Yoo brings out the complexities and the palpable emotion of his character with an innate ease and relatability.

Watch “Train to Busan” below:

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A Man and a Woman

There is no denying when it comes to complicated matters of the heart, no one does it better than Gong Yoo. In “A Man and a Woman,” he plays Ki Hong, who meets Sang Min (Jeon Do Yeon) in a park in Helinski, and the two spend a passionate night together. But despite being married to different people, Ki Hong and Sang Min develop a deep bond and connection. Well aware, their relationship could have severe repercussions for everyone involved. As the two are unable to quell their desire for each other, they are unable to ignore the actuality of the situation they are in. Is it selfish to think of oneself, or do they resign themselves to a life of regret and bittersweet longing?

A romance drama which explores the many layers of human relationships as well as the complexities of marriage, “A Man and a Woman” rides high on the emotive performances by its lead pair. Gong Yoo brings forth his character’s loneliness, helpless, and vulnerabilities with finesse.


Warning: mentions of sexual abuse below.

This one is not for the faint-hearted and can be triggering as well as disturbing. Based on a novel highlighting true events related to sexual abuse inflicted on hearing impaired children in Gwangju, “Silenced” was an impactful film which sparked public outrage and forced the case to be reopened. Gong Yoo plays Kang In Ho, who is a teacher and a single father dealing with his own personal trauma. When he sees his students avoid him, this leads him to investigate the matter, which opens a can of worms and the monstrous acts inflicted on these children. Kang In Ho steps in and is willing to put everything at stake to protect his students and bring them justice. He endures their pain with them, and his empathy and compassion instill faith in their fearful hearts. He communicates with them via sign language, and knowing the odds are against him, tries to instill hope in his own way.

“Silenced” highlights the evils in society but also reaffirms that for all the hate and negativity out there, there are some kind and good people around too. This one is a challenging role, and Gong Yoo plays Kang In Ho with the utmost sensitivity. A man ridden by guilt, grief, and his own helplessness is brought out with sincerity by the actor.

“The Age of Shadows”

The year 1920, as resistance grew against Japan’s occupation of Korea, Gong Yoo plays Kim Woo Jin, the charismatic operating officer of the resistance movement. He finds himself pitted against Lee Chung Chul (Song Kang Ho), a Korean-born police officer operating under Japanese control. As one wonders whether he should stand loyal toward his benefactors or nationalist pride, the other is committed to his cause of revolution. What ensues is a cat and mouse game of dual identities, deceit, reconciliation, and plenty of high octane action.

The espionage thriller once again shows Gong Yoo’s acting prowess, playing a man torn between his love Yun Gye Sun (Han Ji Min), a fellow comrade, and commitment to his cause. An actor who seems totally at ease in any genre from action to romance to thrillers to comedy makes Gong Yoo an actor for all seasons.

Hey Soompiers, which one of these is your favorite Gong Yoo drama/film ? Let us know in the comments below!

Puja Talwar is a Soompi writer with a strong Yang Yang and Lee Junho bias. A long time K-drama fan, she loves devising alternate scenarios to the narratives. She has interviewed Lee Min HoGong YooCha Eun Woo, and Ji Chang Wook to name a few. You can follow her on @puja_talwar7 on Instagram.

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