19.12.2012. Pogledajte intervju koji je ljetos Murat Yildirim dao egipatskoj Al Hayat TV, a emitiran je 05.11.2012. Video traje oko 40 minuta i ima hrvatske titlove. Uživajte.


This is an English translation/transcription of the Murat Yildirim interview with the Egyptian Al Hayat Channel on Monday November 5th, 2012. The accuracy of the responses is based on this dubbed voice over….while Murat Yildirim cannot be heard so therefore some of the translation done by the channel may not be 100% accurate…..

There is a little biography with a man’s voice that starts like this:

MURAT YILDIRIM, born in 1979, studied Engineering in Istanbul, but then decided to follow a different path towards theatre, because he felt that engineering was not compatible with his personality. His first appearance on TV was through the series Immortal Love in 2003. He gained enormous popularity in Turkey and the Arab World after the leading male role in ASI portraying the character of Demir. His popularity increased after he appeared in the role of Savas in Ask Ve Ceza.

The interviewer (Sally Shaheen) starts the interview by saying: Murat Yildirim, welcome to Al-Hayat Channel, I am here relaying to you the greetings of your male and female fans, they are very happy to see you, and they cannot believe that I am here meeting you today.

Murat says thanks to you and to the fans.

S.S.: Let’s start with the past, your father wanted you to be an engineer and your mother wanted you to be a doctor, and you left all that and turned to acting, why did you do that?

M.Y.: Frankly, I came to Istanbul to study engineering, I didn’t want this, frankly it was my father’s wish; but after I got introduced to the theatre club, I started to frequent the theatre more and more and to attend acting classes, I realized then that I was in love with theatre, and that I would never be an engineer; and this is how I started in acting. After that, I started acting in television series and the movies. At first, I hid that fact from my parents, but when my father found out that I was acting, he said you are not going to stop your education in engineering, right?  You are only going to pursue acting as a hobby, right?  Six months later, I acted in a series and my father was the happiest for me.

S.S.: Once you finished your education in mechanical engineering, did it benefit you at all in your acting or was it just a diploma to hang on the wall?

M.Y.: I did finish my studies and I did get the diploma, but I didn’t care for it, and I did not  practice, because my main profession is acting. I got the diploma in name only.

S.S.: After you finished your studies in engineering, you took acting and drama lessons, do you think that the actor has to be more educated or more talented?

M.Y.: Of course I prefer if he’s educated, because that will give him more experience; no matter the specialty, whether it be acting or some other art, he needs to study that profession; and if he has the talent, it will help him, a lot, because it gives him the necessary feeling. If someone comes and tells me that he wants to act without having the knowledge, just because he ‘s got the acting talent, I would advise him to study that profession and then he will succeed as he will know everything. Take me for example, I have studied acting but I am still learning new things, I read books about theatre, I attend seminars, participate in workshops, ask questions of my professors, discuss scenarios; this profession is never ending; even when I reach 60 yrs old, I would still consult and take advice from my peers , work with them, because there is always something to learn; education is this field never stops, because acting is a profession that requires constant improvement; and the best place for training is the theatre because they teach you how to stand on the stage, and without that, work will become difficult.

S.S.: Is it true that you started acting at the invitation of a beautiful girl? Is that what encouraged you to go into acting?

M.Y: Yes, it is true, I was sitting at the University cafeteria and this pretty girl approached me and asked if I wanted to act in a play, I said yes, so I went to watch them and I liked the idea a lot; this is the trick, I tried acting and I loved it very much, the guys were very nice, I wanted to be with them and I joined their group immediately.

S.S.: And where is this girl now?

M.Y.: Frankly, this girl was like a joke, she was very pretty and I am never going to forget her. We were friends but unfortunately we didn’t continue together. She is now married, has a very beautiful child and is living a very happy life.

S.S: Did she continue in acting, is she a star like you? Or was she just the reason you went into acting and then she left it?

M.Y.: Now at Yildiz University, there were a lot of actors, almost all of them engineers, but the thing that I was able to show, courage or strength or love or whatever you might call it, they were not able to show it. A few among them were even the reason I got into acting, but they stayed in their profession and acting became like a hobby to them. And as you know, life sometimes can separate you from the hobbies you love. My friend, the girl you mention, sometimes appears in commercials.

S.S.: I know that your mother is from Syrian origin?

M.Y.: No no, she is not Syrian, that was an old misunderstanding during an interview I did a long time ago; not my mother, I meant my mother’s ancestors were from Arab origin and my parents told me about their immigration; I mentioned this in a program on one of the TV channels.

S.S.: Ok, but didn’t she make you watch Arabic programs like series or movies?

M.Y.: I didn’t have many opportunities to watch them, but at one point, I was following the news of what was happening in Egypt, and Syria too, just to keep up with what’s happening in the world. It is just natural, any person wants to know what’s happening around them and around their country, out of curiosity.

S.S: After the tremendous success of ASI, and your huge popularity, have you tried or I actually heard that you thought about doing an Arabic-Turkish project and that you even called for it, why hasn’t it been accomplished until now?

M.Y.: It’s true, if I get this kind of offer, I would think about it, and I would want to be in it; it might even be an enjoyable experience, but so far, there is nothing like that. I think this project is still far fetched.

S.S.: Do you feel that the timing is right for the Turkish drama to enter the Arab world at this time, or was it late in coming?

M.Y.: Well, in that regard, I don’t know, but as far as the Turkish series, , they are very desirable, not just in the Arab world, but also in the Balkan countries; maybe it’s due to the scenario, or the photography or even the acting, but it looks like people are appreciating and they are watching. Turkey is very interested in the field of the TV serials which are being filmed under very difficult circumstances. Every week, we have an episode; with that short time, one episode every 6 days, and such high quality, Turkey has become very experienced in that field and it would be very hard to get the same quality and in the same amount of time anywhere else. When the series ASI started, we expected it to be a success, and to make great noise, because Tuba was already known for her work in

IHLAMURLAR ALTINDA; she was already popular and famous, but we never expected to go to Monte Carlo Festival or for it to be purchased by 72 foreign countries or to be shown on several TV channels and to become so popular, we never expected that.

S.S.: The Turkish drama and the serials we watch, whatever the story may be, always rely on romance, is the Turkish man also romantic in real life like we see him on TV?

M.Y.: Haha, yes it’s true, the Turkish man is very romantic, but like everyone else, once he gets married, romance disappears.

S.S.: What happens after the marriage?

M.Y.: No no I was kidding. Here in Turkey, people love romantic story and they watch them, but others also succeed like the one I am filming right now, it is more about friendship than love, they also like it a lot; plus there are other stories too; but the ones that make it the most are the love stories, everywhere in the world. For example, the movie Matrix, is an action film but it also tells a love story; without love, the work is incomplete.

S.S.: What’s the difference between the version that is shown in Turkey versus the one that is shown here? Is it the duration of the episode or the way it is broadcast? Are there many things deleted from the show?

M.Y.: No no, I remember there was a discussion, there was even a symposium about this matter, that the Turkish serials are beginning to find a lot of resonance around the world and what can we do about it. Maybe we could advertise for Turkish cars or other Turkish brands, that was the idea; but the scriptwriters were never directed towards any particular political view or to take advantage in representing Turkey; there was never such a request.

S.S: I want to ask you, on what basis do you choose your roles? What I know is that only 1 or 2 episodes are usually written and then additional episodes would be written every week according to the ratings. Are you able to tell, from 2 episodes, if that role is suitable for you?

M.Y.: For example, the last role that I accepted was with my colleague Sarp Akkaya; and the scriptwriter was Pinar Bulut; both were friends of mine from before; Pinar is the writer or Ezel and Sarp had a role in it and the serial was of high quality; also the producer is Timor Savci who produced the best works in Turkey, one of which is “Muhtesem Yüzyil , you heard about it. My friends and I always talked how we would like to participate in a project together with Pinar & Sarp. Then Pinar wrote Suskunlar which is based on a novel by Oyar Lama, it’s an old Romanian novel; but the story did not stop at the relationship that takes place in the 1st episode, she agreed to amend it and extend the possibilities. Of course when the scriptwriter sees the story from more than one angle, he/she is forced to listen and make changes before writing the final version, because, after all, it’s a series and a new episode has to be shown every week. When it was offered to me, the fact that it was Pinar who wrote it and that I was going to work with my dear friend Sarp, something that is very agreeable to me; also the production was by Timor Savci, all of these were important factors for me, but the most important was that Pinar wrote 18 pages of the scenario and for the 1st time I accepted after reading the scenario.

S.S.: Let’s now talk about ASI, I want to know how was it backstage? Where were you filming? Because ASI is the river that you were in front of, where is this place in Turkey? How were you dealing with each other? How was the atmosphere during shooting?

M.Y.: When I was offered to work in ASI, I had another offer, and I thought a lot about which one to choose, and as I was going to accept the other offer, something happened and then I accepted ASI; and of course I am glad I did. I never regretted any decision I made in my entire life. Antakya did not have an airport, and we had to travel 2 hours from Adana by road. I would stay 5 days a week there and 2 days here because my wife and friends were here and I missed them a lot. And in the last 4 months, I rented a house in one of those little villages, and so did Cemal Hunel, who played the character of Kerim, and we brought our horses with us; we truly spent the best 4 months of our lives; but before I rented the house, the coming and going to Istanbul was very tiring for me because as soon as I got off the plane, they would take me to the set to start shooting until morning. At the same time, I was also shooting a movie here; at the start of the 2nd season, that period was very difficult for me, I would finish shooting here at 6 am and right away I would have to catch a plane at 7 am to go to Antakya and I would go straight to the set to start shooting again for 2 or 3 days, then, when they finished with me, I would get 2 or 3 hrs of sleep; actually, one time we had an ambulance nearby in case of an emergency; then I would be back here to finish shooting. In reality, it was tiring but a lot of fun, we made wonderful friends, they were like brothers, Tuncel Kurtiz and Cetin Tekindor, those people mean a lot to me. Now, when I think of Antakya, I had good memories in it. Antakya is one of the most beautiful & peaceful cities and still is, I love it a lot; the pope and men of clergy are always present here, there’s even a place where all sects meet, and a representative of each sect will sing a religious song to represent his congregation; it is an amazing city. I haven’t had a chance to visit it again after the shooting was done.

S.S.: In ASI, you played the role of Demir, who had a very hard time telling Asi that he loves her, who even had the viewers run out of patience; but in another role, in ASK VE CEZA, you played a character who was very much in love and had no trouble expressing it. Which one are you?

M.Y.: I am the type of person who, if I truly believe in something, I pursue it till the end; to me nothing is difficult in this life. In some situations, you have to be patient and bear the consequences; something we do for a person we love, or a friend or even a brother; and if you truly believe in that person that you’re with, you can spend your entire life trying to make them happy; that’s me, I am like any other person really.

S.S.: So, when you’re in love, would you be like Demir in Asi, unable to communicate your love or like in Ask Ve Ceza were you were able to express your love, which one are you like?

M.Y.: I would relay my feelings one way or another; if I am not able to say it with words, then I would let that person know any which way, because a person surrenders to that moment and will try not to hide his feelings, especially if that other person feels the same way, I would want to take advantage of that moment.

S.S.: Now we want to know how did you express your love to Burcin, your wife? You were acting together and you loved each other; how did you let her know that you loved her?

M.Y.: Of course I remember, but normally I don’t talk about this. It was a long time ago, when we started shooting together, it was during the 1st episode, I kissed her on the cheek and then I told her I love you; I was still very young.

S.S.: What was her reaction? Did she understand or what?

M.Y.: What do you think we discuss politics again (laughing)? Seriously, I don’t like to talk about this subject. There’s nothing to be ashamed of, we can talk about these things, it’s normal, but when I see this article in the papers with the big heading “ He kissed his wife on her cheek”, that bothers me a lot. I truly don’t like to talk about my personal life.

S.S.: Fine, is marrying an actress, while you’re an actor too, the long hours of work, not spending enough time together, does that create difficulties between you, or is it normal because you understand each other’s work?

M.Y.: In all honesty, so far, there hasn’t been any problems between us. It was difficult when I was shooting in Antakya, but when I was here in Istanbul, we were able to see each other and spend time together. My wife wasn’t working at that time, that is why we had every chance to be together.

S.S.: I heard that you sing when you are among friends, are you going to be singing for real?

M.Y.: No no, I just sing with my friends when we’re together; never in my life did I think I was going to become a singer. It’s true at one time, I was interested in music and I even started playing the guitar, that’s probably where you got your information, but no I am not going to sing.

S.S.: You are very interested in politics, have you thought of entering election for the Parliament here in Turkey? What are you doing politically? I understand that politics are very important to you?

M.Y.: Now if I talk politics or if I am interested in politics, that does not mean that I want to enter the world of politics or to practice politics? I don’t have a particular case to defend, I just want to be an artist and nothing else. I am just like anyone who cares about art and politics, like you and me and everyone else because politics is the basis for everything that revolves around us. I am one of those who cares about politics when there are elections, I will go and vote for the person deemed suitable, that doesn’t mean I am bias towards the party that I voted for, because the real purpose here is to serve the public, that includes the Prime Minister and the members of congress; everyone wants to serve their country and I am going to do it as an artist; I don’t need to go into politics to achieve that. I am not saying that because I want to be detached from politics, I am just not interested; I only know for a fact that I will never become a politician, I am an actor and I will remain as such.

S.S.: Is Turkey’s dream of becoming a member of the European Union still in effect?

M.Y.: Of course, it’s plan to join the EU still exists, Turkey is also interested in Syria and the Kurdish Labor Party. It is trying to join the Union but it looks like it’s a long way coming. The idea of joining the EU is very good because Europe is advanced & powerful, but that also depends on the interaction with the other side, their demands and whether we are able to meet those demands, all that requires time. As far as I know, the first time it was suggested that Turkey join the EU was during the Presidency of Tansu Ciler, that was about 10 years ago, and now 15-20 years later, Europe has developed a great deal and so did we, naturally; how long will this last? Frankly, I have no idea.

S.S.: I also know that you are interested in the Palestinian cause and also now with what’s happening in Syria, are you, as an actor and with the popularity that you have in the Arab world, able to use that to help either Palestine or Syria?

M.Y.: Frankly, this is not the 1st time I am asked this question. I told them at the time that I am willing to help as much as I could, within my means. I would love to offer my help, and that help would not be limited to the Palestinians refugees, because every day there are new refugees that enter Turkey from Syria, or even the victims of war like those of Bosnia and Herzegovina a while back. It could also be the poor people that are mistreated in Africa. I don’t think I can do more than that.

S.S.: Where are you from the movies?

M.Y.: When you work in television, most likely you cannot work in the movies. I personally work 6 days a week, I can hardly find the time to rest to work in the movies, besides, it would be very difficult for me to use that day for work. In addition, when I sign up to work on a movie, I like to give it my full attention. At one time, I was doing a TV series and a movie at the same time, and this was very hard for me, I wanted badly to do the movie because the scenario was fun and very entertaining, but I encountered a lot of difficulties doing that; sometimes I would shoot till morning without sleep and that made me very tired which consequently, it affected the people that I was working with. Everything is coordinated according to the actor’s availability and that created pressure for the people I was working with; I never wanted to be the cause of that. But, of course, if I am free and I am not working on a TV series, I have no problem working on a movie. After I completed ASK VE CEZA, I had some free time and I was offered 2 movie roles, but unfortunately, both cancelled, one after the other. I haven’t done a movie in 3 years.

S.S.: ASI was very successful in the Arab world and here in Egypt; at the same time, you were shooting a movie with Beren Saat, who was also known here in Egypt from the serials Fatmagul and Ask-n Memnu, did the movie that you did together, at the same time you did ASI, succeed the same way ASI did in Turkey?

M.Y.: That movie we did was political, if we wanted to compare the number of viewers, no it was not comparable to ASI, but it did ok. I would not measure the success of the movie to how much money it brought the producer. The movie could have been better, I could have done a better job, the script could have been drafted better; But if we had added more ideas to the scenario, the Control Room would have refused to show it because it would have caused a lot of commotion. In my opinion, this film did not succeed because it wasn’t given a chance, it didn’t relay the right idea to the public; but in the end, it was a good movie and it became a success. Of course Beren did a wonderful job so did Mrs. Tomris who filmed under very difficult & intimidating circumstances. We loved the original scenario a lot, but, of course, if we had not done alterations on it, and were able to communicate the accurate message to the viewers, this film would have been a bigger success and it would have won awards and would have been shown on several channels around the world. In spite of all that, the movie was entertaining and people watched it.

S.S.: What was it about?

M.Y.: It was a love story from the 60s. It was September in 1956, the story of a Greek girl and a Turkish young man who’s family was very patriotic & conservative. They loved each other. Around 6 or 7 September 1956, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk’s house was blown-up, a very painful incident; at the time, they didn’t know who did it, but after a full investigation, the culprits were found and consequently punished. At first, they blamed the Armenians or the Greeks for the events that were happening in Turkey; and that bombing was the main focus of the movie, then the story starts revolving around the characters in the film. They were not that many. In spite of everything that happened between the 2 families, their love endured. We tried to tell an unusual & innocent love story which does not exist in this day and age. The movie was shown in Greece and it made a big fuss. The Greeks thanked us a lot and were even surprised how we were able to express so truthfully the events that took place in those days, we told them we were wrong in those days, and we apologized to them, and also that they were right in this matter and we have no problem admitting our mistake & we wish it didn’t happen. History if full of these kinds of situations throughout the world, especially during wars; take for example, the Armenian war, people were never able to understand what truly happened and it is still a sensitive subject up to this day, the problem has not yet been solved and it won’t. (Laughing) It looks like we’re back discussing politics.

S.S.: In ASI, you had a mustache, did your role require you to have a mustache?

M.Y.: Oh yeah, in the 2nd season, I had a mustache; because at that time, I was also shooting a film and the character in the movie required a mustache, that’s why I kept it; that’s what happens when I have 2 projects going on at the same time, one for TV & one for the cinema. In truth, we were supposed to shoot in summer, but something occurred that delayed the shooting of the film, at the same time, the TV series was due to start; and also the script was revised and that caused a delay of 2 months. I don’t think it was ugly and the viewers didn’t mind it, on the contrary, they liked it.

S.S.: In ASK VE CEZA, a big chunk of your role was about your desire to change the traditions in the place where you and your family were born. Another serial, SILA, was also talking about the same subject; to what extent do those old traditions still affect the lives of Turkish people today, especially the ones regarding revenge and marriage, who should marry who in order to stop the revenge or as in your case where you married your brother’s wife in order to preserve the inheritance. Are these traditions still implemented?

M.Y.: Those were in the old days, we would hear about these stories on TV news or will read about them in the newspapers; but for the last 5 or 10 years, we stopped hearing about them and there are fewer problems. But of course some still exist in Anatolia and some parts of Istanbul.

S.S.: Do you feel that these dramatic series that you do might help fix this problem and influence some people?

M.Y.: We cannot guarantee this 100% because not all people are educated enough to comprehend & learn from what we’re showing. If we wanted to consider art as a job, it can easily relay a message to the viewers, enlighten them and educate them about a number of things. I am not saying this is the way to learn from what you see on TV, because we would have a certain idea in mind and we implement it; then people watch it and if they like it, they are influenced by it. There is a very high percentage of people who are affected by art.

S.S.: Let’s talk about Suskunlar, the project you’re working on now, tell us about your role in the series.

M.Y.: It’s about 5 friends, 4 boys & 1 girl; they all live in the same neighborhood. They were brought up together like brothers & sisters. They were very close and loved each other. And one day, while walking, one of them said let’s go eat baklava, so they buy the baklava; suddenly, who knows what came to their mind, they started acting childishly, they beat the salesman and tried to steal the car, but they weren’t able to do that because the police caught them. They entered juvenile prison because of their young age and in there, they were beaten, molested & abused, mostly by the adult prisoners. After they get released, they separate. A long time goes by, and one day, coincidently, one of them witnesses a murder in the street; and so begins the 2nd story, they reunite and come up with the idea of revenge; of course, there’s also a love story, 2 of them love the girl. I play one of them. He was 12 and in love, it was a childish love of course, but, unfortunately, he had to go & leave her behind. During his imprisonment, he didn’t see her nor did she ever visit him. Then they separate and time goes by, and all the while, he is thinking of her and hoping they will get back together because he realized he cannot live without her. The conflict begins between him and his friend, the role played by my colleague Sarp Akkaya, who gave the role great charisma; he loves the girl whose name is Ahu, they were having a relationship when I entered their life again. That created a lot of problems between the 2 friends who were fighting over the girl. Then, their love story is complete and they live together. On the other hand, it talks about those 5 childhood friends, who were very close and yet fought constantly, and unfortunately, after so many problems, they separate. The basis of this series is the story of revenge for these 4 friends.

S.S.: Is this the 1st season that you’re shooting?

M.Y.: We finished the 1st season and now we started on the 2nd season. We completed 2 episodes and the show will start showing next week.

S.S.: How many seasons do you thing you’ll have?

M.Y.: Honestly, I have no idea about these things. It could be just those 2, or 3 , or maybe even more. As long as we keep working on this project, we want the ending to be pleasant not a bad one. We don’t want the people to get bored with it; we care about that a lot, we also don’t want the story to drag on too long. After all, SUSKUNLAR, the name of the serial, is a social story, we don’t want it’s reputation to be ruined and we don’t want it to linger. I don’t know what we might agree on later, maybe by February or March or even June, we’ll complete the shooting of this season, and after that, I am sure it will finish.

S.S.: We talked a lot about work and about politics, and I notice, you are always conservative with your answers. I am going to allow you all the time you need, who is Murat Yildirim? Yes we know you from TV, we know you as an actor, but who are you?

M.Y.: I don’t know how to talk about myself. I am not trying to be ambiguous or secretive, it is just my nature. In order to know someone real well, you need to live with him, share his life, his problems, every detail of his life. Now, in whatever I do or say, I try to be close to people, but I also would like to keep some things private, like my personal experiences and my family life because they concern me personally and it is my right to keep them to myself. I share them with my family and friends and the people I know very well. Not everyone has to know everything. And that’s not necessarily wrong. Most people do that and that’s the way I like it. I don’t give interviews to magazines because they either lie or exaggerate; their only purpose is to make a profit with whatever they do. Since I got married, I go to work, come back home, spend time with my friends, visit my parents, like any other person.

S.S.: Do you have any other hobbies besides your work?

M.Y.: More than anything, my wife and I love to receive our friends and spend the evening at home, or go to them. I never plan for anything I want to do, no matter what it is. Whatever comes to my mind, I will do instantly, without difficulty. I enjoy the moment. It could be riding horses, or eat with my friends or even travel to a country (gets interrupted by Sally)

S.S.: Do you ride with Cemal?

M.Y.: Excuse me? Oh oh Cemal, frankly, the last year was very tiring but very enjoyable.

S.S.: Where do you like to travel?

M.Y.: Nowhere specific, as long as it is a new place. For example Europe is very similar to Turkey, and yet I still like to visit something new and get to learn about the different civilizations. I don’t complicate things, I shouldn’t go here or I have to plan in advance. I just think in the moment, if I am free, and I have time, I will just take off. It’s very simple, nothing stands in my way. Egypt was one of the countries (gets interrupted by Sally)

S.S.: Tell us about your trip to Egypt

M.Y.: Honestly, Egypt was very different to me, I was really fascinated by it. What’s interesting in Egypt is that you can see the world in all its aspects. For example, the river Nile which runs through the middle, is very beautiful. You can see life divided with each side totally different from the other side. Add to that, the Pyramids and their surroundings. Everything was beautiful. It was an unusual trip, everything was available. My visit lasted 3 days and I had a terrific time. I met this nice lady whose company I enjoyed a lot; I would love to see her again in my life, and get to sit & talk with her ; Mrs. Leila Takla. I’d like to send her my best regards from here. She is an extraordinary woman who is greatly appreciated in Egypt; she contributes a lot in charitable causes. A truly amazing person.

S.S.: Where did you go in Egypt, what places did you visit?

M.Y.: I visited the pyramids, I went on a boat trip on the Nile, my visit was short, I just came to attend a festival then I left. I walked the streets, and went shopping.

S.S.: next time you visit us, you have to visit more places and watch Arabic movies.

M.Y.: Inshallah (God willing)

S.S.: I want to ask you about your love of horses, did it start with ASI or was it there before?

M.Y.: It started with ASI, that was the 1st time, I had the chance to ride a horse, we had to train, but then in Antakya, the horses were always with us and we use to race Cemal and I , after that, I always rode horses.

S.S.: Thank you very very much for your presence with us, it was a pleasure.

M.Y.: I thank you very much, and I will be happy to see you here, and I hope to see you again when I visit Egypt again, and Hello to everyone.

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