Serkan Çayoğlu Interview | 'I would love to work with Mehmet Günsür!'

Serkan Çayoğlu Interview | 'I would love to work with Mehmet Günsür!'
Çayoğlu seems shy in person, but he is a natural in front of the camera
He is the type of guy that makes heads turn when he walks in. We’re talking about Serkan Çayoğlu of course. We meet him at St. Regis’s Hotel’s ‘Spago’ in İstanbul for the interview. He talks in such a laid-back and cool manner, he’s not caught up in himself. I can say he is shy, even. I had to force some answers out of him! Yet when we finish with the questions and he starts posing for the photographs, he transforms into something else. Before we get a chance to describe what to do, he’s already done it. No wonder, he was a model.

We photographed him just the way he dresses in his daily life because we always see him in his classis or casual style in the photoshoots he’s done so far. He describes his style as “Plain shirt, bermuda shorts and just sandals”. Just when he decided to enjoy his life and make the most of his free time, Serkan found himself acting in “Hayatımın Aşkı”. He says the reason he said yes to the project was because he liked the script so much. “It was also a huge plus to be working with as creative minds as Ketche. When I ask him about working with esteemed artists such as Zafer Algöz and Avni Yalçın, he says “now that’s something I can talk to you for hours and hours!”. Of course, he salutes his co-star Hande Doğandemir as well. When I ask him who he’d like to act across the most, he says Mehmet Günsür without a moment of hesitation.

So without further ado, let’s have a chat with Serkan Çayoğlu, accompanied by photos taken by Emre.

- Why did you specifically choose ‘Hayatımın Aşkı’ as your next project?
- I had just finished shooting ‘Kiraz Mevsimi’ in November and I meant to take some time off. Go on vacation and do certain things to better myself as a person. I thought I’d attend acting workshops, focus on my favorite things to do. I even thought I’d get a motorbike license and I had started taking lessons. Then we had meetings for ‘Hayatımın Aşkı’ around end of February and into March. It might sound cliché but I loved the script. It was a huge plus to be working with Ketche, such talented and creative people. Of course, it was only appealing that Demir was different from Ayaz. In light of all that, I had to say goodbye to my vacation and we started shooting! (laughs)

- Even though first few episodes is like a sit-com, ‘Hayatımın Aşkı’ is actually a rom-com. Did you ever feel like you’d be repeating yourself?
- Yes, you’re right in saying that it felt like a sit-com at first. Absurd comedy, even. Now it is slowly evolving into a rom-com. My first work ‘Kiraz Mevsimi’ was the pioneer for this genre. I can safely say I did everything related to the genre in the 60 episodes. For this very reason, I sat down with the writer and the producer for ‘Hayatımın Aşkı’ and we had a chat about Demir’s progress as a character. I wanted to know how he’d evolve in the first few episodes. I knew he wouldn’t be completely different from Ayaz but I wanted to make him different. I said yes to the project simply because we had an agreement about the character.

- The series has changed four directing teams so far. How does it affect your performance?
- Actually, these types of changes isn’t uncommon abroad. It may be an extreme example but ‘Game of Thrones’ changes directors every two or three episodes. Of course it is impossible to compare the American industry to ours. Firstly, we are always on set. You see your fellow actors more than you see your family. Additionally, you are in constant contact with your director, assistant director, lighting crew, cinematographer. It sounds cheesy but they become your family, you have a bond. Our crew changed four times but every director had his/her own style and it has a positive affect on the actor. We started with Ketche, then worked with Osman Taşçı and then Barış Yöş. Now we are working with Uğur (Yağcıoğlu). They’ve all brought a different voice for both Demir and for the series with their own voice as directors. The day Uğur arrived, we incidentally didn’t have any scenes to shoot with Hande so we had the chance to meet and adapt. Each director that comes comfort us so we feel rather lucky.

- Let’s talk a little bit about your partner Hande Doğandemir. How would you describe her?
- We are so comfortable at the set. Working with her is great. Because she is so in control of her character, she can add things so quickly. We interact greatly together, and it applies to all cast. Everybody loves each other. We work with masters such as Zafer Algöz and Zeynep Eronat. I admire Zafer’s energy. When we shoot for Gökçe’s scenes (played by Hande Doğandemir), we usually have around 50 people shooting, therefore it is a rather intimate atmosphere. It can lower your energy at times, you get drowsy. Yet when they start counting back to roll the tape, Zafer blasts with energy and it wakes you up! I don’t know where his energy comes from (laughs) Of course I can’t not mention Avni who plays my father. When I act with him I only read the script once, I didn’t even memorize my lines. He acts in such a way that it comes out of you automatically. He makes you act. His natural aura has rubbed off on me. Sometimes I find myself thinking “How would Avni do this?”

- If you consider both ‘Kiraz Mevsimi’ and ‘Hayatımın Aşkı’, which scene was the most difficult for you?
- We were shooting ‘Kiraz Mevsimi’ in Polonezköy and it was snowing. Ayaz ties up a red string and dangles it down from the window to a tree at the hotel they were staying at. Then he climbs the tree and sends a ring to Öykü with the help of the string. Those who have watched knows already what I’m talking about! (laughs) Because it would be more difficult to climb down every time, I stayed on that tree for 3 whole hours, and I remind you it was snowing. When we were about to shoot, I couldn’t even move my jaw. We ditched half of my lines and because my hands were all red and frozen, we didn’t do any finger close-ups.

- Last year you attended the 67th Emmy Awards as Fox International’s guest. What was it like to experience that?
- It’s hard to put into words actually. It was such a warm and different environment. At first sight they seem very heavy but they are in fact very casual and laid-back. Most importantly they are so sincere and personable. Everything was organized and carried out right down to its every minute. Maybe likening it to the Champion’s League finals would help with a fair description.

- You must have inevitably imagined yourself as one of the nominees. Do you have such long-term goals?
- My goals are very general. Like many other actors, I want to do several different characters. Besides doing TV series, I want to act in cinema and on stage. I may continue acting abroad. It may even be Germany, Italy and London at first. If you ask me where I see myself in five years, I don’t have the answer to that (laughs) I don’t live my life based on a time schedule, I love being spontaneous.

- I heard you own two cats named Leyla and Zeynep. Where do these names come from, any particular reason?
- Completely a spur-of-the-moment thing, I didn’t really think it through! (laughs) I love conventional Turkish names. I asked my manager if he/she could think of any names and when he/she said Leyla, it grew on me. I also liked the name Zeynep so I named the other that way.

- What other talents would you like to possess?
- I wish I had dealth with music a lot more. I am not really completely talentless as I seem to have taken after my father in that department. He plays many instruments. I just developed a liking to music much later in my life. I am learning a few things about it but it’s only for pleasure.

- If today’s Serkan could go back in time and give himself advice, what would it be?
- I think I’d go back to my 18. I left home then and I would advice myself to focus on acting at different schools. I would like to focus on different projects in different countries.

- Who would be your ideal acting partner(s)?
- Where do I start?! I want to skip the female partners section completely because they like to derive and make things up. However, I would especially like to work with Mehmet Günsür someday. I’d name him my eyes closed. Also, I would be very fortunate to act next to Halit Ergenç.

- Your favorite movies recently?
-The Danish Girl and The Big Short

-The movie that made you cry the most?
- Not a movie but the Hodor scene in the latest ‘Game of Thrones’ season made me tear a little.

-Series you watch?
- ‘Game of Thrones’, ‘Outlander’ and ‘House of Cards’. I may have watched some episodes of ‘House of Cards’ twice. I admire Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright. Spacey’s character Frank Underwood is described perfectly in his ambitions and tenacity.

- The last book you read?
- Paulo Coelho’s ‘The Alchemist’ and Kazuo Ishiguro’s ‘Never Let Me Go’. Sadly, I haven’t had the chance to read for the last three months, though.

- Your favorite music to listen to lately?
- Kalben

- The ideal and favorite present for you?
- Nice question! Desserts and ice cream (laughs) I am a sucker for ice cream. Presents are nice in general. We took a wishbone bet yesterday with someone from the crew. We’ll see who’s going to have to buy the other a pair of shoes...

- Your favorite place to be?
- Spain

- Your favorite place to be in Istanbul?
- The Bosphorus. I guess I love Istanbul so much because I didn’t get to grow up here. The time I spend crossing the sides on a ferry is very dear to me. Feeling the wind and breathing the fresh air of the sea is priceless. 

Interview by Cansu Uras
Photo Credit: Emre Yunusoğlu