HELLO TURKEY PHOTO SHOOT & FEATURE, LONDON 2020
Cagatay: Yes, each element such as a good script, a good cast, a good director is important. As well, I think working hard and being passionate are the biggest factors.
Hello: The Protector has been the first original Turkish series that found its place on a global digital platform like Netflix and you broke grounds in terms of that. How was it like in the beginning? What did you feel, experience? What kind of a world did you step into?
Cagatay: Certainly, I was proud and it was exciting. I was thinking that it would be an important milestone in my career path and so it has been. I entered a different world, we all did actually, and speaking honestly, I took a risk while making this decision. I learned new things, I met new people from all over the world and had international experiences. I believe that in this process, we had the opportunity to see our own industry from a different perspective. I could see that what we do is globally appreciated and that we really had done a nice job. I had the chance to reach out to people whom I couldn’t reach in my previous projects. The feedback and the reactions made me very happy and proud, of course. I think the most important point was the happiness that I derived from working with Netflix, which is the world’s most important digital platform, and the new doors it opened, new opportunities it provided.
Three years after an unforgettable photoshoot in Monaco, where we followed in the footsteps of James Bond, we are back together with Cagatay Ulusoy on the streets of London. We experience a lot of things for the first time with Cagatay, who continues to challenge himself as an artiste, going from acting and now on to directing and scriptwriting. The famous actor, who appeared on the digital platform and gained international fame with Netflix’s first original Turkish series “The Protector”, which is coming soon with its third season, once again shares with Hello! his experiences and excitements from the process of making the series. Cagatay Ulusoy, who will fulfill his military service after our photoshoot, says, “In this period of my life, I am playing different musical notes”, stating that he is in a developmental phase. We are curiously following this inspirational phase of the successful actor, who has stepped into great beginnings; and we eagerly listen to his dreams, his life, the things that feed his soul and his love of nature.
Hello: Now we’re in London, 3 years after Monaco. You spent a while in Los Angeles and then this project on Netflix. How have your recent years been?
Cagatay: I’ve been through a busy, active, exciting process. On the other hand, I had the time to improve myself on different things. I welcomed beautiful new beginnings.
Hello: All the projects that you’ve been a part of until now have been wildly successful. They did very well in the box office and had high ratings. A good script, a good director, a good cast etc. what do you think is the ultimate keystone of success?
Hello: If we compare TV and digital platforms, what are the differences for an actor? Are there any advantages and disadvantages that you can explain?
Cagatay: As a system, it is advantageous in every aspect. You know on what days you’re going to work and for how many hours. For both the actors and the team, set hours that don’t exceed 12 hours per day enhance the performance. Knowing the whole script from the beginning is one of the most important differences. Thanks to that you have a better grasp of the character you portray and you can see the development; the changes in him are more clear. You also have the chance to prepare for the character and rehearse enough. Also, not being under the pressure of ratings frees us from an extra point of stress. I believe that the entry of new platforms to the market is positive for both the actors and the other components of the industry. I think a new opportunity has emerged for us to tell our stories to the world through many different ways.
Hello: Hakan is a hero. He is the last protector who is on a secret mission to protect Istanbul. If you had a superpower in real life, for what would you use it to protect?
Cagatay: To protect Istanbul… I guess I haven’t had the chance to think much about it.
Hello: From now on, we’ll be seeing Cagatay Ulusoy as a scriptwriter and a director whom we have known as an actor for 10 years. How did the desire to working off-screen develop?
Cagatay: It happens in time. They are occupational groups that feed and support each other after all. And when the thought of, ‘what else does the picture on the monitor show, other than what we do?’ comes to your mind, you take the camera and start trying. Curiosity takes you to other places. Honestly, I have always wondered what it is like to be behind the camera, the effort required to create new things, and I loved it too. I actually had a short movie which I filmed in Los Angeles. It was my aim to explore my capacity. I had loved that experience and kept writing new stories, scripts.
Hello: What kind of a story is “Azadlık Saka”? Can you tell us about its details?
Cagatay: I don’t want to give details right now since it’s one of my projects that I’m still working on. I need to work on it a little more and there are still ways to go until its final appearance.
Hello: Does it bother you to walk on a different path, to step out of your comfort zone as an actor who has a rising meter of success in each of your new projects? Do you ever feel the fear of ‘what if it doesn’t work’?
Cagatay: Of course I have question marks, because this is a brand-new challenge for me. But I don’t really experience the fear of ‘what if it doesn’t work?’. Because this or that way, I experience magnificent things which are brought by life. My fans experience it with me too. I’m trying to learn something new from every thing that happens to me. I believe that they must be improving me in some ways. Honestly speaking, I love taking risks at work.
Hello: There are many artists out there in the world who went on to scriptwriting or directing from acting. From these people, who do you like?
Cagatay: There is no one that I’m specifically following or taking as an example. There are many big names from different genres and eras. If I am to give an example from the old ones, Mel Brooks is one of the best names in acting, scriptwriting, directing and producing in comedy. But, I’m following on my own path.
Hello: So, would this new exciting field push acting into the background?
Cagatay: There is actually no pushing acting into the background. There may be a changing balance between them (acting/ directing) over time based on the development of a story and how it touches my soul. For now, I’m in a developmental process and playing different musical notes. We can call it an ‘active resting’ period.
Hello: Actually, we had loved your musician side with the character you portrayed in Delibal and the song you sang. They say “A real actor should dance or sing when it’s needed.” What do you think?
Cagatay: First of all, thank you. I think that an actor can do anything according to the opportunities that a character provides. Or, at least, he can try to do so and challenge himself.
Hello: You play the guitar and piano and I had heard that sometimes you even compose. Apart from performing a role, have you ever considered music seriously just like directing?
Cagatay: Yes, I compose little pieces at home. Sometimes I play and sing too. It is all for enjoyment and I have never thought of it seriously. For now, I don’t have such a career plan.
Hello: Do all these interests we mentioned support or damage each other in professional life?
Cagatay: I believe that everything in life feeds each other. A music that plays in the scene is making the painting you work on look more cheerful while a light that is shining on your face supports the feeling of the scene and captures the emotion. A word from the script that you keep forgetting strengthens your inner motivation while the director sets the time. Just like life! To be able to reflect the right emotions, one should walk on every branch of one’s art.
Hello: Cagatay Ulusoy is someone who we don’t see, who is out of sight when he doesn’t have a project. This thought of “disappearing a little so people miss me “– is this a type of tactic, or does social life/ intense attention make you tired?
Cagatay: Neither, actually. I’m not the type to think on these things or use tactics with intention. Due to a busy schedule, I can’t find time for myself while I’m working. So, when there are no projects, I spend time on my hobbies and feed my soul. I listen to myself. That’s all.
Hello: Your fans recognized you and ran towards us even on London streets. Even though you have mentioned that you don’t want to be recognized, you handle it perfectly. Is fame a controllable situation? What does it mean to you?
Cagatay: In my opinion, it’s in your hands to be able to handle fame, but the other things that fame brings about are not. To me, fame is just an outcome of the job I do. I do not attribute a meaning or attach importance to it. I only concentrate on doing my job right and doing it well. I don’t care about what it brings. The unconditional support and love of people are what makes me the most happy. The rest is not really important. We are all ware that fame, and recognition are temporary situations. The important things lie in the legacy of our work, in its quality and reputation
Hello: If we go back to the time when you applied to 2010’s Best Model, did Cagatay have this future plan in his mind? What were your dreams and how much of them have become true?
Cagatay: I began with dreaming about basketball, and life brought me here. I’m in a very beautiful journey which I don’t want to block and it still continues for me with all of its wonders. Let my dreams remain private for me but I’m trying to keep going by dreaming of new things and setting new goals.
Hello: Looking from this side, everything in your life and career seems to have gone well. Have you ever had any struggles that caused you hardship?
Cagatay: Of course, I have had. This is life. It puts you through some unpredictable processes, you struggle, you put your heart into it – I mean you accept it – and move on. From afar, only the pros are visible but only we, and the people who are very close to us, see the cons. It’s not possible in this life to achieve something without effort, struggle and hard work.
Hello: Do you like biographies? Who would you like to be if you were playing in a biography?
Cagatay: Yes, I like them. I don’t want to give a specific answer. Everything that touches my soul sounds good to me. There are projects that we talk about and explore, but there is still time for these things.
Hello: It is said that Libras tend to be well balanced and artistic. We have already heard about your artistic soul. So, are you person who is balanced in your life? Are there times when the balance is broken? When does your balance falter?
Cagatay: I’m generally a person who has balance but this balance might be lost when I’m away from nature.
Hello: You live in Istanbul but somewhere away from the noise. Does living together with animals in nature make you feel good? This preference is more like a lifestyle than an escape, right?
Cagatay: As you said, this is a lifestyle. There’s a give and take balance in nature. Knowing, feeling that I’m a part of it feeds me in every way.
Hello: Apart from this professional life of yours which we see, you also have hobbies that you enjoy doing. Your fans know that one of them is to go out to sea and fishing. Does being on the sea instill you a feeling of infinite freedom?
Cagatay: Whatever it is I need to learn to survive, I learn it from the sea and the fish. I go fishing and I become a fish. The sea is heaving, calming and sometimes becomes quiet, sometimes becomes like a festival. Diving also makes me feel tremendously tranquil and peaceful.
Hello: is it true that you love the dark?
Cagatay: it is true, yes. I love the calm that darkness makes me feel.
Hello: You had said that one of the most important things that your family instilled in you is the love of animals. Are you the type that can’t resist and help the animals on streets too?
Cagatay: Of course, I’m trying to be helpful as much as possible.
Hello: Who knows Cagatay Ulusoy the best, who is his “black box”?
Cagatay: Engin Aykanat [Cagatay’s agent] knows me the best. I can say that he is my black box.
Hello: You have an out-of-sight-relationship with Duygu Sarisin. How is everything going? Is it a marvelous harmony when an actor and an actress are together or is it difficult time to time?
Cagatay: We’re great, everything is fine.
Hello: Does your notion of love change with age? Is there a difference between the old Cagatay and the new Cagatay in terms of this?
Cagatay: Of course, there is. Hemingway said, “The most beautiful thing in life is having that one person who knows all your flaws and still thinks you are amazing.” I agree him.
Hello: We’ve met with your brother Atalay who studies cinema in London. Do you dream of working together in the future?
Cagatay: Who knows, maybe we have already started working together.
Hello: What makes you excited the most nowadays?
Cagatay: Let this be a surprise because I’ll be sharing it soon.
Hello: How is 2020 going to be for you? What awaits you and your fans?
Cagatay: It’s a year with a new journey, with new beginnings. I guess 2020 is going to be a year which will make my fans as excited as I am. I’m hoping it will be a busy year in which the projects that we’ve been working on become reality.
Article Copyright: Hello! Dergisi, Turkey
Photographer: Ozlem Dinca
Translation Credit: Cagatay Ulusoy North America