As North Americans, we have no shortage of TV options: satellite dishes with hundreds of channels along with Amazon Prime and Netflix offering a gazillion more movies and TV series. In those thousands of shows, there are plenty of handsome blond-haired, blue-eyed actors to swoon over. But in all of our viewing, rarely do we come across an unfamiliar actor who impresses us so much that we pause the show to find out who the heck he is and what he is about.
But that's exactly what's happening to thousands of people stumbling onto a Turkish drama series
on Netflix called Kurt Seyit ve Sura. Who is the actor creating all of the buzz? His name is Kivanç Tatlituğ. (pronounced Ki-vaunch Tat-li-too)
Kivanç Tatlituğ.... Star of a Turkish drama, you say? Yes. Turkish drama. Subtitles and all. But don't cringe. Kurt Seyit ve Sura is not some B-rated foreign production. And many of us were stunned to conclude that Kivanç Tatlituğ is the best actor we have EVER seen.
He's so good that people are calling, texting, and emailing their friends to rave about him. Outlander fans recommended him as a cure for “Droughtlander.” Period Drama sites are touting his talents. Bloggers and Tweeters are blogging and tweeting about him. And when the Kivanç Tatlituğ North America Facebook page was started in May of this year to give English speakers a place to share their enthusiasm about him, the group mushroomed to over 23,000 followers in just four months!
He’s taking North America by storm through a subtitled TV series, which has only been on Netflix since the beginning of this year! Yes, he’s that good.
So just who is this Kivanç Tatlituğ? A quick YouTube search returns plenty of hits on him—which is great if you understand Turkish or Arabic. But a little more digging reveals that he is not only touted as the “The sexiest actor in Turkey,” but has received an impressively long list of awards recognizing his acting talent: Best Actor, Most Popular Actor, Most Successful Actor of Years, and SIYAD Best Actor Award to name just a few. In addition, he was named a 2016 GQ Turkey Man of the Year, is the "face" of Mavi jeans, and a UNICEF Ambassador.
Even more impressive is the fact that his acting acclaim has come after a very successful modeling career where he's walked the runways of Paris and was named Best Model in Turkey and Best Model of the World in 2002.
But I promise you, he's more than a handsome face. Much more.
He has an amazing talent as an actor. As I said in my review of his most recent project, Cesur ve Guzel, “Kivanç Tatlituğ's uncanny ability to project emotion through body language and facial expression is like looking through a window into his soul.”
And I'm not alone in appreciating his ability to make each viewer feel like she can read his deepest thoughts and feelings from his every expression, movement, and gesture. One fan on the Kivanç Tatlituğ North America Facebook FORUM said, “Kivanç is an amazing actor. His eyes mostly can tell the story...and when he gets mad, wow!” Another said, “Breathtaking expressions.” Others said: “What can't he do? I'm afraid to watch anything else.” “[His] versatility is astounding.” “I have never been carried away like this.”
Author Anne Rice is even considering Kivanç for the lead role of Lestat in her upcoming television series based on her popular Vampire Chronicles books. Both Russell Crowe and noted Director James Cameron have also recognized Kivanç’s talent.
In short, North Americans have been Kivançed.
So how did 35 lucky North American fans have the opportunity to meet him?
When an American fan recognized him on the street in Florida and posted a photo on Twitter, other North American fans said, “He's here? Can we meet him?” The ladies who run the Kivanç Tatlituğ North America (KTNA) social media outlets set out to arrange a meeting. And lo and behold, he agreed to meet two days later at a Turkish restaurant in Orlando. Most would agree that two days isn't long to organize a luncheon when none of the KTNA administrators even live in Florida. And it was a near Herculean effort for fans who live on a continent the size of North America to reorient their lives and make their way to Orlando on such short notice. But on September 3rd, fans came: from Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, from all over Florida, and even flew in from as far away as Utah, California, Pennsylvania, New York, and New Jersey! I myself made the nine hour drive from Charlotte, NC, to meet this man whose acting performances have been mesmerizing me all summer long.
As we sat at the restaurant in anxious anticipation of his arrival, we weren't sure what to expect. Would he have bodyguards? A paparazzi following in his wake? Would he just “pop in” for a token photo op and then leave? Would he show up at all?
When he arrived at the appointed 12:30, he surpassed our greatest expectations.
Accompanied by his wife and brother's family, he casually walked into the restaurant in a Jimmy Hendrix T-shirt and jeans as if he was walking into a room of friends. Expecting only to be meeting a few fans, he was surprised that such an “event” had been prepared for him. He declined our invitation to sit at an appointed head table and instead opted to sit among the guests. He generously allowed us to take photos with him, but wanting to be fair to all his fans around the world, he requested that we not make any video recordings.
He was warm, personable, and incredibly down to earth. He listened intently, fully engaging each person he spoke with. Although he was clearly “the life of the party,” a casual observer would never know that he was one of the most recognizable faces in the Middle East.
His wife, Başak, captivated us as well. She was just lovely! Beautiful inside and out, she was soft-spoken, feminine, and very sweet with an impressive career of her own. After studying
design at University, she became one of the first personal stylist for men in Turkey and now outfits male actors on several Turkish dramas. In addition, she owns Room + Rumours, a boutique, fashion showroom, and restaurant/bar located in a trendy three-floor space in Istanbul. It's not hard to understand why Kivanç chose her as his wife!
While Kivanç took selfies with fans (and even numerous do-overs!) and made his way around the room, other fans visited with his wife, brother, and sister-in-law who were equally charming and friendly. Both Kivanç and Başak spoke excellent English and seemed to have no trouble understanding our varying accents, even over the hubbub of chatter in the room. Kivanç and Başak delighted us with their presence, answered our questions, and allowed endless photos until nearly 3:00. It was an unforgettable experience!
A week later later, those of us who attended are still pinching ourselves that we had such an amazing opportunity to meet him, and we are marveling over how incredibly nice and “normal” he is. We are only sorry that so many of our fellow enthusiasts were unable to make the last-minute trip to Orlando to meet him as well.
Clearly Kivanç Tatlituğ is on the cusp of breakout popularity here in North America. And had an American fan not recognized him on the street in Florida, we're not sure he would even have been aware of the impact he is having on North American audiences. But hopefully now that he's met some of us, he has a better understanding of our love and appreciation for his incredible talent, his engaging personality, and his lovely wife.
Yes, we've been Kivançed.
Watch out, Hollywood. A Turkish star is rising on the North American horizon.
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Copyright @ 2017 Ginger Monette Article Reprint policy
**For my personal account of meeting Kivanc in Orlando and his answers to our
questions, see my post "I've Been Kivanced! Ginger Monette Meets Kivanc Tatlitug. And don't miss the photo gallery below!
***For a full gallery of photos from the luncheon, visit the website of Kivanc Tatlitug North America.***
-Want to connect with other English-speaking fans? Join Kivanç Tatlituğ North America on social media!
-Kivanç's official sites
-American agent: pending.
Article by Ginger Monette Copyright @ 2017 by Ginger Monette GingerMonette.com