Çağatay Ulusoy’s Interview with “Episode Yerli”

May/June 2021

Yeşilçam” is the first period series of BluTV. It tells the story of Semih Ateş — a producer, who devoted his life to making movies, whose motto is “I make a film, the patients get better.” Semih Ateş is a passionate man. He had a difficult childhood, and it was the cinema that brought him to life, and prevented him from getting dragged down on a different path. He is very capable and creative, especially in figuring out ways to fund his films.

The series tales place during the most interesting time in Turkish cinema, but also touches on real and controversial historical events of the 1950-60s. These years were very important both in Turkey and around the world, because they marked profound changes in politics, society, culture, and the arts.

What does the character Semin Ateş mean to you? How would you describe him? What did he teach you?

I have stated in my previous interviews that Semih Ateş is a passionate character. In addition to passion, he earned his success thanks to his foresight and intuition. The most valuable trait for Semih, is that he can evaluate the obstacles in front of him instinctively, and immediately tackle any issues with resolve. If you ask me what Semih taught me as Çağatay, my answer would be that he taught me to really “look.” To make sure to see what you’re looking at and be able to read it correctly.

You’ve been in a lot of TV shows and movies, which are also widely watched around the world. However, this is the first time that you have been in a period piece. How does that make you feel?

It’s great to be in a period series, it’s like time travel. The spirit of the late ’60s is one of great upheaval in politics and society. The passion and ideals of the people, who lived during that period, is still relatively incontaminated. So it is possible to represent it in a pure and clear fashion. In the 21st century, information overload has become so commonplace, that looking at the world from the ’60s perspective can make you feel strong and safe.

The main story of “Yeşilçam” takes place in the context of the politics of the 1960s. How did you prepare to impersonate a character from that era? Were you interested in the period and did you read about it?

Çağan Irmak and our screenwriters are very familiar with the period. Their contribution was fundamental. The ’60s are an important era both in Turkey and around the world. During this time the world experienced political and artistic revolutions. While preparing for the role, I did some historical research. Semih Ateş is an intellectually free individual, with a strong personality. We chose not to give him a particular accent in order not to caricature the role. I preferred to focus on the physical representation. I identified him as naïve, kind and a gentleman-like.

Semih Ateş makes mistakes, and lives his truth. He is a multi-dimensional character. His passion for his job get him into trouble from time to time, . What do you think of that?

As I just said, Semih Ateş is a unique character, with both qualities and flaws — just like any other human being. With a bit of introspection, everyone can find a part of themselves in Semin Ateş and empathize with his decisions.

What’s your favorite Yeşilçam movie?

It would be inappropriate to name my favorite, but the first thing that comes to my mind when you mention Yeşilçam is ‘whether the pickle juice is made with lemon or vinegar. ‘(Laughs) (this is a quote from the movie “Neşeli Günler.”)

Who is your favorite Yeşilçam actor/actress?

I can’t just name one, they’re all very precious to me. But when I was little, I used to watch Cüneyt Arkın’s movies and jump on the couches. For this reason, there is a slight scar between my eyebrows. You could say that he has such a special place for me, that he left a mark !(laughs)

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