“Man is what he believes,” says Anton Chekhov. It’s hard to be young, to believe in one’s self and to do something for art; it takes time and patience. Boran Kuzum is an actor in his mid-20s who believes in his talent.
As he continues to draw attention to himself, Boran Kuzum finds some time between the stage and the set to go on a journey in time. Getting to know him better is both exciting and realistic. We couldn’t have a better company, could we?
How did your family react when you told them about your decision to become an actor?
Boran Kuzum: I’m one of those people who experienced the challenge of studying in a system that limits your field of study, let alone your choice of profession. I’m 25 and still discovering new things in life. When choosing a field of study at an age when I didn’t even know who I was, all I wanted was to do something creative in life. I discovered myself and what was wrong for me by experience. My family was one of the greatest lucks I had during that time. They always said, “This is your life. Be sure of what you want to do. Pick something that makes you happy but always try to be the best at what you do and a good person.” These words always gave me strength to go on.
We know all your escape routes take you to Ankara. What was the hardest thing for you when you came from Ankara to Istanbul?
Boran Kuzum: Ankara is the city that has been home to my dreams. My family, my close friends and people I know always greet me with a familiar sincerity. Whatever happens in life, I always know that they will be with me when I go back there. I feel like breathing again when I’m in Ankara. I didn’t realize this when I lived there. I faced many things once I left my family and went outside my comfort zone to start a new life in Istanbul. You have two options here: you’ll either forget yourself by fading into the crowd or face yourself by being alone in that crowd. Here, you get to know people’s masks before you know their true selves. In Ankara, almost everything and everyone is just as I’ve left them. I try to experience Istanbul as much as I can; it’s a special city but it feels good to get out of town or to visit Ankara once in a while.
As a conservatory graduate, what is your opinion on the comparison being a self-taught actor and a professionally trained one?
Boran Kuzum: Conservator is a process for me. I learned a lot but during those four years I focused on the profession I chose for myself and learned the acting discipline before learning about talent or professional success; it was a place where I grew up, discovered and had challenges. But at the end of it, the decisions and choices you make become the elements that define your talent and vision. Every artistic performance is the product of an artistic vision, and this is something you earn with discipline rather than teaching. What we receive at school is precious training but we work with people with the inspiration we get from life and people around us. There’s a lot of stories to be inspired by if you wish to see it. The conservatory years are dear to me but whether you graduate from it or not, every artist with the aim to improve his/her vision and self comes out on top in the end.
Though people usually believe “s/he became famous all of a sudden” when a young actor partakes in successful projects but there are actually years behind it! Can you tell us about how you came to where you are? What did you overcome?
Boran Kuzum: I’m not savvy about how the casting in the TV industry works; probably neither are people working in the industry because they sometimes have to make a decision based on a certain demand. There are castings that focus on prototypes or physical qualities of the actors rather than their talents. This perception is slowly breaking down. I went to auditions for nearly three years before I got my first TV role. Of course, I was a student back then and was still improving myself – maybe that’s why I wasn’t good enough. But the casting preferences have always showed me that there were other factors involved. In the end, it’s always easier to seek acceptance when you’re sure of yourself and what you want to do.
You get to experience the human psychology and sociological relations in another period, and share it with the audience.
You’ve already starred in three period dramas on TV! What would you like to say about period acting? Is it a preference or a coincidence?
Boran Kuzum: You get to experience the human psychology and sociological relations in another period, and share it with the audience. You can tell stories in different conditions in another time. That’s why I care deeply about period dramas. It has been a coincidence for me but I’d also like to experience other periods through new projects in the future.
As part of the 21st Istanbul Theater Festival, you play in The Seagull, a Chekhov classic. Treplev, your character, is a young artist in his 20s with depression. What’s the connection between this character and Boran Kuzum?
Boran Kuzum: We both have moments when we realize what we have missed or could miss in life as we chase our dreams. Most young artists feel the passion to change things or to create something new and unique. Some are very dedicated to their job and use everything they have to achieve success. These are Treplev’s primary motivations and my own experiences in life.
“Prototipler üzerinden ilerleyen oyuncu seçimleri var; oyuncunun oyun alanından çok fiziksel özellikleri üzerinden tercihler yapılıyor genellikle.”
If you had to choose one, which would it be – TV or theater?
Boran Kuzum: I’m passionate about acting regardless of the medium. I love what I do. I’m improving myself by learning from every new experience. I hope I can do it all together for a long time.
Is there a director or an actor you wish to work with in the future?
Boran Kuzum: I have close friends who I worked with during the challenging process I talked about and helped achieve what I have today. We improved each other so I’d love to collaborate with them on a project. Other than that, there are young and inspiring artists in the world who give me a new perspective. For instance, a director of the younger generation, Xavier Dolan captures the inner voices of his characters in an incredible way – it’s as if he’s taking an X-ray and showing it to the audience. It feels very real to me. I’ve watched Mommy five times. I was familiar with the play of Juste La Fin Du Monde, one of the latest ones I’ve seen, and the movie reflects the play’s world in a spectacular dynamic. You feel like you’re watching real people. It’s a very precious thing. I wish I had the chance to play a character shaped by his vision. There are also successful actors with whom I’d like to put something on stage.
What do you expect from 2018?
Boran Kuzum: I’d like to continue my dream job with the same passion, to spend more time with the people I love, and to cherish every moment.