L’Officiel – February 2018

From the moment you step through the door until  morning you need to renew yourself. Somebody needs to remind you of the “real Kivanc”.

Kivanc Tatlitug

Mehmet, Halil, Behlul, Kuzey, Muzaffer Tayyip, Kurt Seyit, and Cesur… Each of these are characters created by Kivanc Tatlitug  and each has managed to erase our memories of the previous by bringing a new one to life. The 34 year old actor has managed to captivate audiences each time he comes on screen, constantly renewing his acting skills, and most importantly his eloquent, dramatic approach.

Behlül faced many challenges for the sake of his love. Muzaffer Tayyip was inspired each time he wrote a new line of his poem. And which of us did not want to give the perpetually troubled Kuzey a warm home and a peaceful life?

It’s obvious that the emotion he arouses in his audience is far beyond his reputable handsome looks, and his recognized acting skills. This phenomenon goes beyond Turkey and extends to South America and the Middle East as well.  In other words, you realize this when you come across people. As Kivanç Tatlitug talks about his childhood memories, you realize that he drew his path with a method that even sincerity cannot solve.

​As you read on, you will discover how his childhood emotions help him to create a channel between him and his desire for constant renewal. Human nature allows us to adjust to changes around us while still preserving our essence.  As you read further you will see an example of this in a man playing the role of a fisherman, the main character in a story.

Kivanc Tatlitug, who parted ways with professional basketball and swimming after several injuries, is getting ready to race cars. Even as things around him change, the famous star is able to stay true to himself. When you read about the real Kivanc, you will see that love is the most important and healthy emotion for him.  At first, we love the person for who they are– before experience shapes our opinion– and we stay pure as long as they remind us of who we are.

Tatlitug who has been in our lives for some time, once again found an opportunity to reawaken his pure emotions from childhood in a special place called Adana. He says that he is constantly looking for opportunities to bring the real Kivanc out. One of the reasons he considers himself lucky is because he constantly tries to find a new direction. Many people would love to achieve what he has achieved, but most cannot stay true to themselves while doing so. That’s the secret that makes Kivanc Tatlitug “The Kivanç Tatlitug”.

How did the filming of Hadi Be Oglum go?

Of course, no one would reply, “We went through troubles and hardships” to such a question. But we really didn’t have any trouble during the shooting of the film. From the get-go there was a healthy balance between the production company, 25 Film, the director, and the editors. Feridun Duzagac [a well known Turkish musician and songwriter] didn’t turn us down and his contribution to the film was invaluable. The filming took place in Kas. I’ve always liked Kas but never before had the opportunity to visit it for an extended period of time. Perhaps I didn’t because it‘s hard to get to. They say that there are plans for building an airport for direct flights, but I hope that doesn’t happen and Kas stays untouched, natural, and beautiful.

What is the main reason behind accepting this project?

The first reason is that the storyline was beautiful. Also the team was good. I wanted to work on a different project than I had done before and to play a different character than what was expected of me. I did this project to surprise people and to show how determined I am to be in competition with myself. I like hearing people say, “This one was very interesting, nothing like his previous roles.” A person should always strive to add more to himself…. there is no end to it. An actor can do this only by giving life to different characters.  And this is what I want to achieve in my career. I also think it will be more enjoyable for my audience. That’s why I loved Ali’s character in Hadi Be Oglum. Ali is a fisherman from Kas. He owns a tour boat. The story revolves around three generations of fathers and sons. Playing the role of a young father was an important experience for me.  When I look back, I would like to be able to say I created a colorful movie library. That’s why this time- frame is important for me.​

You are playing a father. Did anyone in particular inspire you while preparing for this role?

I am sure there are people who inspired me, but I cannot name anyone in particular. I fed off of multiple emotions to be able to portray Ali in Hadi Be Oglum. You have to be loving, conscious, and sensitive to children. I can actually say that loving a child is enough. Although the dimensions of love are interchangeable depending on the person, being protective and showing tenderness are traits that we all must have. So, while I was preparing for Ali, I preferred to get my inspiration from feelings instead of figures.

There are sensitive points in the movie. Ali is a father who cannot communicate with his son easily. What is the main message Hadi Be Oglum is trying to underscore?

The main topic we tried to portray in this film is one that unfortunately exists in every part of society. You might say that the theme started with bullying and rose to a more serious dimension. Kids who are bullies are bullies because their families cue them that this is normal behavior. If parents don’t take charge in bringing awareness about differences in people, this can become a serious problem in society, and will pass on to future generations. Can you imagine what a big problem this can become? On the other hand, there is no limit to bringing awareness to this subject. The main thing is that people need to become more aware.

How do you improve your awareness for people around you and for yourself in your daily life?

I try to listen myself all the time, like a doctor. I always question, listen, and create empathy in my social life and personal relationships.  That’s how I become aware of what I have done and what I can do. If you want me to be honest, I wasn’t always patient when it came to unfair things happening around me. I used to get mad quickly. I used to confuse being honest with being aggressive… but I learned how to cope with it. I know the difference between being straightforward and being heart-breakingly blunt. As time goes by your acquaintances grow their roots around you like a tree… they cling to you. That’s the reason I believe we have to be more conscientious toward people around us. I think twice before I speak, and I am a happier person now. Because I’m happier, people around me are happier too. We can communicate with each other better.

In each role you play, you portray a new character. As an actor portraying a character, what is it like being a different person?

​It excites me to play a different character each time. A person who is not in the business of acting skips these stages and only enjoys watching and loving the characters. On the other hand, for us (actors) it is a complete process from creating the character, writing the script, feeling the character in yourself… adding all these pieces together, and in the end watching the final production, is very satisfying.  Creating a character is like putting a puzzle together without any reference. I like to take on challenges. Maybe if acting was not hard, I wouldn’t attempt it in the first place. Maybe I would get bored.  This quality about me helps me to create different projects every so often. Instead of working on the same project for a long time, I would rather to do a short scenario and come right back with a different character and renew myself. For me the most important thing is to analyze myself, critique my previous role, receive critiques from others, and start a new journey—immediately switch to a new character.

What did you add from yourself to your previous roles?

​Television and cinema are two different mediums. While you do more popular work for television, you work in a freer arena for cinema productions. But the two are like the links of a chain—what you create for a TV role gives you strength to perform for cinema and the popularity that is gained from TV helps you to make your messages more impactful to the audience.  I believe one must be able to keep those two links connected throughout his career. On both of my movie productions, I tried to portray characters that are different from my TV roles. I’m sure we will achieve this on Hadi Be Oglum, after The Butterfly’s Dream.

There are lots of things you would like to accomplish in cinema. Can you talk about that?

​There are lots of roles, lots of stories I would like to work on. Maybe some of them may not fit our daily clichéd cinema rhythm. I’m talking about the extraordinary stories I have on my mind. The silver screen is a very exciting place for me. This year especially I realized how hungry I am for movie projects. To satisfy my hunger, I am reading scripts and I may do one more movie project this year.

You have been in this business for 15 years now, what do you think about the TV shows on digital platforms?

The current shows on television are longer than 150 minutes, and when I tell this to foreign directors or actors, they don’t believe me. This industry has to change.  I remember we used to film TV shows that were 75 to 80 minutes long. The current shows are way too long.  The shows on digital platforms are actually a move in a positive direction. It is actually very appealing for people like us in this industry actually. This new concept of watching streaming TV is widely adopted around the world. These new digital channels bring visibility to Turkish TV shows around the world. I believe both TV and digital platforms will feed each other by finding a healthy balance.

When are you planning to return to TV?

Like I said before, I would like to put more weight on cinema this year. I plan to do a TV show next year, and we are working on evaluating the options for that. Next year’s series could be on a TV or on digital platform.

Is it true that you are considering playing in Prison Break and Vampire Chronicles?

Prison Break is one the projects that I am currently reading, but nothing is decided yet. I watched the show too, when it was airing. Vampire Chronicles is a sequel from a novel with the same name written by Anne Rice. She stated that she is considering me for the role of Lestat, and shared my name on several platforms. My agent is in communication with her, but there is nothing definite yet on that project as well.

You are the most popular actor in Middle East. Why do you think the world you created has become so appealing to them?

First, our cultures are very similar. Not only my shows but many Turkish TV shows become successful, and gain strong followings. The bridge built between the two regions due to TV shows has also increased tourism. Turkish TV shows are not only popular in the Middle East, but also in Brazil, Chili, Peru, North America, and even in many European countries. And these shows are bringing more tourists to our country, and whoever likes our country is welcome here. Because of these shows, the bridges that are built among people from different cultures are getting stronger. It is very important and flattering when people from countries you don’t even know ask you to take pictures.

In the current era, social media has created new rules and habits. And we’ve become used to those changes very quickly. It is all good, but what do you think about the rapidly evolving social relationships?

​Social media is a part of my life only as much as I allow it to be. That’s the reason it hasn’t changed my life much. Of course, there are plenty of people using these tools for useful reasons, but also as an entertainment tool. I have seen people posting constantly about themselves instead of enjoying a theater play or a movie. I believe it is taking people away from living in the moment. Because they can’t enjoy the moment while they’re busy posting to social media. Besides that, there is a big user population that uses ignorant, condescending comments, and I find this to be dangerous. As a matter of fact, there is a short movie about this. Maybe I use social media less than others, but I think all users should be aware of the dangers. At the end of the day, this is the era we are in.

What do you miss the most about Adana?

What I miss most is the day-old breakfast pie and spicy pickle juice I used to have before I went to school.

What kind of a man have you become after getting married?

​If I said the following sentence 15 years ago, it would have sounded funny. But I can say with a clear conscious that even a stable guy with 15 years behind him can be easily affected by what others say or think. I come home each day burdened with this. From the moment you step through the door until morning you need to renew yourself. Somebody needs to remind you of the real Kivanc. This is the most important thing I have learned over the past 15 years. That’s why marriage is very good for me. I’m very lucky that I was always very close to my family. And my marriage is the same for me. It’s good to be responsible, and it keeps me alert mentally. I even think this is reflected in  my work, because I involve myself on a deeper level. Basak and I support each other in everything, which makes me very happy.  We really are living through the cliché “for better or for worse.” My wife is my greatest fortune. I am very happy that I am around people who let me be the “real Kivanc,” and where I can behave without thinking. We need to tightly hold on to those people who give us the luxury of being ourselves.  I am very lucky. First my family, my dear wife Basak, my agent Gaye and Zerrin, and my close friends around me are very valuable to me… I am very lucky to be able to build a nuclear family after building a big family. I believe in making money in any shape or form, but having people around who remind you of who you are is the most important thing in life.

Photographer: EMRE GÜVEN
Fashion editor: AYÇA ELKAP
Translation: PINAR OZBEK
Watch the behind the scenes filming of L’Officiel’s photo shoot of Kivanc here.