If I’m exaggerating, let my eyes fall in front of me. This guy gets 40k likes when he puts a photo on Instagram. I couldn’t believe it either. “Am I seeing it wrong at 4000?” I thought. But even with close glasses, 40 thousand! So it’s an incredible phenomenon. He acted in a TV series called “Güneşi Beklerken”, and that’s how it happened.
Now ‘Şeref Meselesi’ is awaited, and it will be broadcast on Kanal D in the coming days. Kerem Bürsin also acted in Çağan Irmak’s new movie ‘Unutursam Fısılda’.
It is clear that he will be one of the most important players of the future in Turkey.
Because women really love him. It is a proven thing, both in Turkey and in the world, men who love women go crazy.
When you read it, you will realize that you are dealing with a different man.
Western not only outside, but also inside. May the road be clear. Happy holidays to you too!
You came into our lives suddenly. Login that login! But we don’t really know you. Who are you, what are you?
I am Kerem. I’m 27 years old. Almost my whole life has been spent abroad, I have been in Turkey for the last two years. I am an actor. I want to improve myself and become a much better actor. I am willing, determined, hardworking…
You summed it up very well… Let’s go back to the beginning. What kind of family?
A connected family. Because we were always the four of us and we were far from Turkey. My father is an engineer from METU. Senior executive at an international oil company. That’s why we’ve been traveling around the world as long as I can remember, we live in different countries.
Were you born in Turkey?
Yes, in Istanbul. But at 10 months old, we moved to Edinburgh, Scotland. Then Indonesia. We lived in both Medan and Jakarta. I started kindergarten there. Indonesia was heaven for me. There were monkeys on the streets, anything that could appeal to a child… There were always people from different cultures, religions and races around me. I am friendly and instantly adaptable, I am adaptable and unprejudiced. I think the reason is this multiculturalism. That was my reality.
Nice childhood then…
Oh definitely! A colourful, rich, and highly developed childhood. Only when you change so many countries, cities, schools, homes and friends, you lose your sense of belonging and you falter from time to time. We found Turks everywhere we went, but when you live abroad for such a long time, you become a ‘world citizen’. My sister and I lived in a total of seven different countries with my parents when we were 14…
What did you do in Turkish?
At home, my mother and father spoke Turkish to us. But of course my mother tongue is English. We were kids with broken Turkish when we came here in the summer. I can speak better now but still in English when talking something deep or fighting with my sister.
There’s Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur, then the United Arab Emirates, Dubai and Abu Dhabi. Then America. We lived in Texas the longest.
Did you complete your entire education abroad?
What about your mother?
One of my biggest supporters. She could not make a career when she traveled around the country. Interested in us. But over time, it shifted to social responsibility. She did great work with children with cancer in America. I’m proud of her. Being able to help others and making their lives easier is one of her most important values. She also instilled it in us. For example, she took us to Kosovo during the war to make us realize that life is not just the life we live.
Who was closest to you during this time?
Of course, my sister. Because sometimes months passed, we didn’t have friends, there are such difficulties in constantly changing places. And you’re breaking away from people. But for each other, we were always there.
What hasn’t changed in your life?
The only thing that hasn’t changed is our family structure. We are a very solid family.
Do you want your child to lead such a life?
Certainly. Why wouldn’t I? You become a 360 degree person. I have been together with people from different cultures, races and religions throughout my life. An endless variety. Nor have I judged anyone for their habits, behaviours, or beliefs. I didn’t care what she wore, what she didn’t wear, whether she was covered or not. I didn’t even see it.
After Texas, you studied marketing communications and acting at Emerson College in Boston. Then you moved to Los Angeles…
Yes. I tried to show myself as an actor. I ran from audition to audition. I also acted in some movies. But it is very difficult to make a career as an actor in Los Angeles, there are people who have tried for a lifetime and failed. Moreover, they are not empty types, they are well-educated, beautiful, handsome, talented. I tried for a while too. At that time, I did not have a permanent income. I was doing side jobs.
Lots of work. I’ve been a driver. I worked as a gym instructor for two years. I worked as a body guard at the gates in clubs. I even cleaned the toilet. But these are completely normal things. Young people are doing this kind of work all over the world. In Turkey, when I say “I cleaned the toilet”, they look at me with pity.
Did the family know?
That’s where it’s a little tricky. I didn’t say certain things to my father. For example, that I work at the club. I didn’t want him to be upset, I said, “I found a job in a company”. Of course, some things they don’t like them, but is my life. You have to decide and move forward, if you need approval on everything, you’re burned out.
When did you start not getting support from your family?
Is it monetary? They always wanted to be supportive, they would still be if I let them go, but it was not in my understanding that someone who is 23-24 years old still receives money from their family. If you are independent, then be independent in everything! I can’t respect people who still take money from their families even though it’s a stake.
So what were you doing, were you sending back the money they sent you?
No, but only when I was stuck. I was basically content with my own money. When it was over, I started working again.
The most important thing you learned from your mother?
My mother is a person who feels the pain of others in her heart. Always trying to do something for someone. She didn’t say to us, “Oh guys, be conscientious, be merciful, be just”, but thanks to her presence, you inevitably become that way. I learned from my mother that we all have a responsibility as human beings. It is not enough to know that garbage should not be thrown on the ground, if there is garbage on the ground, you have to remove it.
The most important thing you learned from your father?
My father is very honest, a man of his word, he has a stance, a backbone. His motto is “If you’re going to do something, act like a man! Give yourself 100 percent…”
Does your father approve of your passion for acting?
No at first, he was scared for me! But that life is my life, he did not interfere. But I knew he was worried about me. Because there are thousands of people crazy about being actors in Los Angeles. Now he doesn’t object to my acting career in Turkey, he even supports me.
“Hurray son you became famous!” did he say anything?
No, our folks don’t mind such things. He doesn’t care about money. My father doesn’t even know that I have fans anyway…
Your mother saw it at the Tarkan concert, there was a crazy queue, security came to calm things down…
Yes, my mother witnessed it, she was a little surprised, but our people are not the type to exaggerate these things, “Oh, of course” they pass by…
Does your father, as a METU student, know that the windows were destroyed in METU?
Nooo. We act as if such things did not happen.
Isn’t it Texas the longest place that you’ve been in?
Yes, I was 13 when we moved to Texas. I can say that my dough was formed there. I discovered theatre there. Acting got into my blood there. So is music. I started doing sports seriously there. I fell in love for the first time there. The first of many things happened in Texas.
What’s attractive about Texas?
Texas is a friendly place. So are Texans. Yes, there is a peasant side, and people are a little condescending. You hate Texas when you’re in Texas. But you’ll miss it so much after you leave Texas. It brings me peace. And I feel very comfortable there. What I love about America is that everyone is the way they are, no one is obsessed. There, for example, people do not have as much brand obsession as we do here.
Does this surprise you in Turkey?
Oh yes! Many things that seem unimportant to me are given so much importance here…
Like what you’re wearing. Your attire. Your watch. your car. For example, I have a shirt that I haven’t taken off for 8 years. Though my mom gets angry, “Boy, it’s melted, it’s punctured! Don’t wear it anymore!” She says but it doesn’t matter to me. I’m comfortable inside and it’s clean. Then it’s ok. What I wear, wear, ride on does not define me.
What kind of women you find attractive?
I find self-confident, working, productive, ambitious women with a goal attractive. The woman I’m going to be with doesn’t have to be extraordinarily beautiful. I prefer a socially responsible and helpful woman to a woman who wants to live the famous life with fanfare.
For example, a teacher can be useful to people, such as a nurse. Although, what I say sounds strange to my friends in Turkey. Just like when I said “I want to be a carpenter”. People in Turkey are divided into certain groups. As if you could only meet people of your culture. Some professions, as if they were only reserved for people of a certain cultural level. For example, they do not understand that a university graduate might want to work as a carpenter. Both teaching and nursing are underestimated, according to them, you should be a doctor if you’re going to be. But there is nothing like it anywhere else in the world. This is actually a hidden caste system.
Yigit and Emir are two brothers. Ben plays Yiğit and Şükrü Özyıldız plays Emir. Our mother is also Tilbe Saran. Şerif Ağabey is also our father. We live in a village in Ayvalık. Then some things happen, we come to Istanbul. Yigit is a type who has not finished high school. A little rebellious. He lives with his emotions. He has an instant lifestyle.
Emir was the complete opposite of his brother. He is graduating from university, preparing to become a lawyer. Yigit has a personality that does not allow for obstacles even though he has no means. An animalistic character. Their father gets scammed and he makes it a matter of honor and hangs himself. The psychology of the mother deteriorates, the family completely disintegrates. Emir will take his legal revenge, and Yiğit will plunge into the events as he feels. He will do whatever he needs to do. I will play Yigit with great pleasure. I was weak for this role. I left a beard. My hair has changed.
But “How much weight have you lost?”
I don’t know the pattern, I haven’t been weighed in 15 years, it’s just that whatever I wear is falling out. We also changed the training for the role. After all, there is no gym in the village. So my muscles had to be different.
How long have you been with Yağmur?
It’s been a year.
Is it your first Turkish lover?
What are you doing?
We hang out at home. We’re already working all the time, it’s a busy pace, it’s unpleasant when you go out.
Where do you live?
I rented a beautiful house in Etiler with a view of the Bosphorus. Home is important to me.
Do you consider yourself handsome?
No, I don’t find it. I have other features: I am a person who can establish warm relationships with people, I can empathize, I can put myself in the other person’s shoes. But I don’t think I have special abilities. I do acting because it excites me. Studying a character, preparing for it, getting into that character, being that character… All these processes make me extremely happy.
All this love happened because of a play in high school, right?
Exactly. It was the last year of high school in Texas. I played Christopher Columbus in a play. For that role, I was voted the best high school actor in all of America. We’ve been on tour, we’ve been to a lot of states. Of course, I loved the scene… Then came the college period in Boston and Los Angeles.
What you’re experiencing in Los Angeles is called disappointment?
No, it’s just a moment when you start questioning yourself. It’s the heart of the movie industry. And networking is very important. If not, you naturally hear “No” a hundred times more often than “Yes”. Oh, one by one, “No, no!” And there comes a moment after it’s said, “Am I doing the right thing?” you think.
Did you come to Turkey because it is difficult and daunting to be successful in America?
Not exactly. There I played Jack Nicholson in the films ‘Sharktopus’ and ‘Palace of the Damned’ by producer Roger Corman, who discovered Sandra Bullock. But it’s a very fast place. Did you do something, ok great but after two weeks people forget you. The manager or producer you spoke to is no longer answering their phones. You are back to where you started. I finally realized that I’m 27, getting older. But I’m still like a driftwood. I realized that I need to take a new step in my life. At that time, I also lost my best friend. We were friends since Abu Dhabi years, he was Egyptian. He died in a cycling accident. This made me question life: “Am I doing the things I want? Am I wasting my time? Am I counting on my place? How can I improve myself?” I decided to change my life completely and came to Turkey.
We met Gaye Sökmen by chance when I came for my cousin’s wedding. I signed up with his acting agency. I called. Although, when I returned to Turkey, I said, “Should I settle in New Zealand and work as a carpenter?” Crazy ideas were running through my mind as well. But then I decided to stay in Turkey and act.
Does being a famous actor here give you an advantage in America?
Doesn’t it provide? It does, of course. The last time I went to Los Angeles, I got a lot of attention. They monitor the Turkish market very carefully.
What do the holidays mean to you?
Unity, togetherness, joy, enthusiasm, family… I wish everyone a happy holiday. We are not a religious family. But we respect all religions, we always have been. The people around us were already from different cultures, religions and nationalities. We always celebrated the holidays of all of them. They’re ours too.
What does dressing up, dressing nicely, kissing hands mean to you on holidays?
I have never kissed anyone’s hand. My grandparents weren’t in that head.
Do you know prayer?
No. I don’t know Arabic prayer either. But when I thank God or ask for his help for something, I say it in Turkish. Since I am Turkish, I had the thought that my God would understand Turkish since my childhood, and it remained so.
What do you do at funerals?
I don’t go to funerals.
Didn’t your relatives die in Turkey?
They did, but I didn’t go. Seems counterintuitive to me.
What do you do when you go to the cemetery?
I’m talking to them…
Is there anything that you find strange in Turkey?
For example, working conditions in the acting industry. Conditions are not equal for everyone. There is injustice. It is sad to be in that injustice and not be able to see it and do anything. One gets a lot of money, the other gets very little… Such imbalances? There is room. Not everyone has the same conditions. In the middle of winter, snow, winter, apocalypse, but people are outside. For example, our tea maker gets wet… Working methods are also different in Turkey. Nothing begins and ends at the said hour.
Officially, Gaye Sökmen’s acting agency gave me therapy and told me how things work in this country. What are the differences between acting in Turkey and America? I also notice this in sports coaches in Turkey. Going to training for 3-5 weeks and saying, “Okay, I became a sports teacher!” they say. There is no such world. Not for acting. If you say, “I’ve been enrolled in a six-week acting course, I’m an actor now”, they’ll laugh at you. Unfortunately, this is our biggest problem. You have tremendous confidence in yourself. But it’s an empty self-confidence.
Do you think you became famous fast here?
But this is not something I can control or develop under my control. Am I taking it too seriously? No.
Do you think your talent was at the forefront?
I hope so. But people may like me, I don’t hang out there too much. Because there is nothing I can do about it.
Does it ever seem silly and funny to get this much attention?
I won’t say it’s silly, but it sounds funny…
Well, doesn’t one get in the mood, “What am I?” wouldn’t he say?
No. Because I have a goal and I still have a long way to reach that goal.
What’s your target?
To be an international actor.
Is Turkey one of these steps?
Certainly. I don’t know how long it will take. But for now, I’m here and I’m going to work hard.
Back in the mid-20s, your parents were like, “Is this kid going to do anything?” did they say
They said for sure.
We’ve all experienced that stress, especially me.
They made you lovers with a lot of women… Does the tabloid press bother you?
This is something I cannot control. I don’t get upset over things I can’t control. I act like it doesn’t exist. I don’t read news about myself either. I don’t put my name on google.
Don’t you look at what they wrote, what happened?
No. There’s no need. I am happy in my own little world.
Do you watch the episodes you shoot?
No. I have watched at most 2 or 3 episodes of ‘Güneşi Beklerken’. It was a curiosity about what our director did rather than myself. Other than that, I don’t like watching myself. Taking pictures doesn’t work either.
What kind of life do you have?
Actually, I don’t have a life. I have been working non-stop for 13 months. I have one day off, other than that, I’m on the set every day. But I am not complaining. I am making my dreams come true.
What will happen after you get out of here?
After the interview? First I go to the gym, then to the set. Sport is the place where I can breathe and be free. Mentally, it’s my therapy. I relax there, thinking about what’s going on. I have a sports teacher, Burak Uğur, we are boxing with him. I was doing a different workout for ‘Güneşi Beklerken’. Right now, I am doing a completely different training for Yiğit Kılıç of ‘Şeref Meselesi’.
Did they compare you to Marlon Brando for your role as Yigit Kilic?
Well, they compared him to Matthew McConaughey in America, because he had a Texas vibe. This is where the Marlon Brando thing happened. I do not compare myself, but they say so.
Let’s say we are in a bar in Istanbul. If I try to come to that bar with a shabby Anadol or a Murat 124 or a crappy Volkswagen, not a single girl will look back! My first car in Los Angeles was pretty crappy, but it didn’t matter. Because the car I drive does not determine my identity. Driving a Porsche doesn’t make me a man either! It doesn’t make it any different from other people. Here, such things are very important… I always wanted to be an early father. But now I realize that I have to realize myself first. There are so many things going on in my life right now, how right is it to drag other people into something like this with me? I wouldn’t be with someone who loves fame, attention, and a glamorous lifestyle. That one just doesn’t appeal to me. But it would be a shame if I found the opposite. That’s why I’m postponing decisions about my private life right now.