Gong Yoo, Yoon Eun-hye reminisce, talk about impact of ‘Coffee Prince’ to their careers

Published October 4, 2020, 1:05 PM

by Jonathan Hicap

Part 2 of the “Coffee Prince” documentary aired in Korea and the cast members discussed memorable scenes in the popular K-drama and how the project helped their careers.

MBC’s “Docu Flex” aired the second part of the “Coffee Prince” documentary on Oct. 1 (the first part aired on Sept. 24), which reunited stars Gong Yoo, Yoon Eun-hye, Kim Dong-wook, “Parasite” actor Lee Sun-gyun, Kim Jae-wook and Chae Jung-an after working together 13 years ago.

“Coffee Prince” became a hit in Korea when it aired from July to August 2007, garnering 27.8 percent Nielsen Korea rating for its 17th and last episode, and it helped popularize Hallyu, or Korean Wave, in Asia including the Philippines.

After the drama ended, the stars continued with their careers. Gong Yoo enlisted in the military in January 2008 and was discharged in December 2009. His first project after discharge was the film “Finding Mr. Destiny.” His first drama project after “Coffee Prince” was “Big” in 2012 followed by the hit TV series “Guardian: The Lonely and Great God,” or more popularly known as “Goblin,” which aired from December 2016 to January 2017. He also starred in the global hit film “Train to Busan” in 2016.

“During the summer, I’m reminded of ‘Coffee Prince’ and in the winter, I’m reminded of ‘Goblin.’ But what’s funny is that when I was filled with worries before I turned 30, I experienced a late adolescence and was losing my way. That’s when I met ‘Coffee Prince’ in the middle of summer,” Gong Yoo said.

He added, “Then, exactly 10 years later, when I was 39, and I was consumed with thought before turning 40, that’s when I met ‘Goblin’ in the middle of the winter. If I have any influence or power, I want to use it for good, something that will help many.”

(Clockwise from top left) Gong Yoo and Yoon Eun-hye today and the cast of ‘Coffee Prince’ in 2007. (Photos courtesy of MBC)

Yoon Eun-hye starred in the dramas “My Fair Lady” in 2012, “Missing You,” “Marry Him If You Dare,” “Love Alert” and last year’s “Go Go Song.”

“After you have a good experience [like ‘Coffee Prince’], it’s hard to experience something better. So I thought, ‘I’m in trouble.’ That was my biggest thought. I felt pressured. I thought it couldn’t get better than this. I thought it would be hard to be a part of a better project,” she said, according to Viu.

She added, “It’s because Eun Chan’s character was so lovely. So I thought that whatever character I played next, she wouldn’t be as lovely as Eun Chan.”

For “My Fair Lady,” she said, “I worked hard to convince people of this. I wanted to tell people, ‘I chose this for a reason.’ But it wasn’t easy.”

Yoon Eun-hye said in the last 13 years, “I think I put down those worries” including that she had to be accepted, to receive good reviews, need to be loved and avoid getting hate by the public. “I’m happy these days.”

Gong Yoo ended the documentary by saying, “I had thoughts of wanting to have a warm meal together sometime. I miss everyone so much. We’re growing old together as actors in our own places. I become so happy when I think about that. ‘Coffee Prince’ is a record of my youth when I was the most passionate and us when we were the most passionate at the time. It’s my constant summer.”