Successfully convincing in every role he’s played, Saylak reminds us of things we miss with his humble attitude and will to make the best of his job.

Despite being a good spectator when it comes to thriller/crime genres, I must say that I have barely seen a dangerous, uncanny character as the one played by Onur Saylak in his latest TV Show Hatırla Gönül, where he stars with Engin Öztürk and Gökçe Bahadır. Of course the biggest factor in my having this sensa- tion is the magnificent acting by Saylak. He talks about this new character, which is a sharp contrast of Saylak’s real life calm personality, as follows: “Tekin is completely different from the characters I’ve played so far. He’s such a phenomenon. A ‘psycho- path’ swimming in dangerous waters. His most impressive side is his intelligence. He comes up with details that would make the audience astonished. There aren’t so many well-written characters in TV Shows that it’s such a big.

Well, how did he prepare for this role? “Every actor approaches their roles in different ways. I usually try to understand the character to be able to capture his behavior pattern. The pattern comes more easily once you seize the gist. Physical rehearsal, gestures, and facial expressions are of secondary importance to me. Because if I can perceive the character, the rest somehow follows. Therefore the ideational process lasts longer for me.” Onur’s story is an interesting one. First he studies Physics at the Middle East Technical University. Upon realizing that he doesn’t belong there, he tries studying Public Administration at Ankara University Faculty of Political Sciences. However, after still feeling like something is preventing him from saying “This is what I want” – sometimes it happens- he joins the theater group at the university and begins to breathe again. Starting to feel satisfied there, he enrolls into Bilkent University Theatre: “Yes, the university years lasted a bit long. I can call my METU years ‘enlightenment’, public administration epoch as ‘frenzy’ and Bilkent Theatre education as the period of ‘preparation’. They used to call me ‘grandpa’ during my years at Bilkent Theatre because I was way older than my classmates. That was a period of quest for me; what, why, how, who, too many questions, too many answers, never being satisfied. That’s why they were the most creative, most courageous times of mine. Making decisions just living the moment and applying them as if there was no tomorrow… Now I see that it was such a big luxury.”

This TV Show is not the only project we’ll be coming across Onur these days. There is a lot happen- ing. For instance, this 15-mins short movie called Orman. “We started to work on a short movie with Doğu Akal last January. Hakan Günday joined us during the script writing process and we finished the script. The cast consists up of Selim Bayraktar, Muhammet Uzuner, Mustafa Uğurlu, Tuba Büyüküstün and Mavi Mercan. Feza Çaldıran is the Director of Photography and Naz Erayda is the Art Director of the movie. Ali Ağa did the editing and the soundtrack was prepared by Uygur Yiğit. The movie is about a day of Omar in Istanbul, a Syrian who had to migrate from Syria. Orman was premiered in New York and there have been screenings at San Francisco and Adana festivals. It will be shown at film festivals in the USA, Canada, Australia and France this month.” Orman is the first short movie by B.i.t Arts office that produces and supports innovative, both artistically creative and intellectually efficient works in the field of cinema. Saylak is one of the co-founders of the company. The movie will be available on the internet for viewing once it finishes its festival screenings.

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Last but not least, I’ll tell you about another project of Saylak that he loves very much and is preparing to share with us: Rüzgarın Hatıraları. He describes it as “a project with a long preparation process, a good team work”. “There is a creative crew in love with their jobs consisting of Andreas Sinanos, Gamze Kuş, Engin Altıntaş behind the camera, and the terrific cast includes Murat Daltaban, Mustafa Uğurlu, Sofia Khandamirova, Tuba Büyüküstün, Ebru Özkan and Menderes Samancılar. It will be in theaters in December and we’re very excited.” Saylak has starred in four movies Sonbahar (2007), Denizden Gelen (2009), Mavi Dalga (2013) and Rüzgarın Hatıraları (2015) so far. He has a special bond with each one of them. He feels himself more productive in cold seasons just like many other artists do; nowadays he’s experiencing various versions of Fall in the most sui ge- neris parts of Istanbul such as Beykoz, Çamlıca, Bebek, Balat and Kanlıca. He confessed that he might be having “a sick obsession” with those neighborhoods due to his shootings. “I communicate many different things to Istanbul and it does the same to me. Sometimes it shows things, and sometimes it makes me listen to what it is trying to tell me. It may be exhausting for Istanbul to look after all those people it is carrying on its shoulders. I’m sure that it is screaming silently. I love the old neighborhoods the most because they remind me that Istanbul is still there, consistent, and I’m just a guest here.” So far we’ve enjoyed each project Onur has been involved in, we’ve deeply felt them all and we can’t wait to see what he’s going to offer us next.

Fotoğraf / Photography: Tabitha Karp Styling: Fulya Alan | Fotoğraf Asistanı / Photography Assistant: Tolga Yaşar

Yazı / Text: Işık Cansu Canayak