The following Can Yaman interview was posted on GossipTV.com on September 21, 2020 by Tiziana Terranova.
Impossibly beautiful with black eyes and an unmistakable Middle Eastern flavor. Who are we talking about? Naturally, it is Can Yaman, the Turkish actor and protagonist of the TV series “Daydreamer” (“The Wings of the Dream). It is extremely popular in Italy and has inflamed the hearts of fans for months now. On an exclusive basis, GossipeTv has collected some statements from the actor released in Istanbul on the set of “Bay Yanliş”, the new TV series with Can Yaman and his co-star Özge Gürel. It is produced by Gold Film and broadcast in prime time every Friday on Turkey’s FOX TV channel.
This friendly conversation took place at night, listening to the sweet and romantic notes of the song of the muezzin in Istanbul. Can Yaman shared many emotions and moments of his life recalling his personal history, the values of Turkish culture, and his awareness of what matters most to him in life.
Yaman began this interview talking about his past. He recalled that when he attended the Italian high school in Istanbul, he had a teacher who came from Palermo named Cassarà. A relative of this teacher had been killed by the mafia. Professor Cassarà was not the only Sicilian to teach in the high school attended by Can. There were in fact many other teachers from Sicily.
During the conversation, the great love Can Yaman has for Istanbul emerged. In his words, “It is a complicated city because it has seven hills like Rome. A huge city that is difficult to know. Each district of Istanbul appears as a city different from the other.”
Can’s great desire to study foreign languages led him to choose to attend the Italian school. His choice also derives from the history of the Ottoman Empire. Again, in his words: “A multilingual and multinational empire. This culture has meant that in Istanbul there are many high schools, many foreign schools. One of these is Italian. Lots of French, German, American, English. There is no Spanish school. The Italian school has its roots, it was created in the 19th century.”
Question (Q): Did you go to this school because you thought that in the future you would have a professional connection with Italy?
Can Yaman (CY): This also. I had learned English in middle school and I wanted to learn another language, because it is important in the future to know languages. I didn’t want to learn French. Italian seemed more sympathetic to me. It is a melodic language.
Q: Have you been to Italy often?
CY: When I was studying after the preparatory course, I went to Livorno to stay with a family. I stayed there for a month and attended an Italian language school. For the first time, I found myself alone at 14.
Q: How did you find yourself?
CY: Well, it is a very peculiar thing that a 14-year-old goes alone with a family, makes friends with adults, and travels all over Tuscany. Then I went back to Istanbul and went to high school. I had Italian friends and professors. I was the best in school. I’ve had the highest average in the last 100 years. In the end when I graduated the average was 92.57/100. Not even one could get close. I was a very special and good student. This thanks to the fact that I was very stimulated, I immediately liked the Italian. After the first year of school, I had already learned it well.
Q: You are therefore very good at languages.
CY: Yes. I haven’t spoken Italian for 10 years. I happen to speak Italian occasionally. At that time, I was as if Italian-ized. They asked me after four years where I had learned Turkish. They thought I was Italian. Then there was the principal of the school who recognized and saw my skill. He gave me a cash prize, in addition to the scholarship I already had. The principal told me: “Take it and go to Italy, choose a university, and continue studying there”.
Every year, I was the first and there was a ceremony where they gave gifts to the best students. I received a cash gift every year. It wasn’t something that was done often. The principal wanted this because she wanted me to go to Italy and travel around Italy. I have visited almost all the universities: Bologna, Milan, Trento, Padua. First of all, I went to the University of Bologna, the oldest in Europe. Then I went to Padua and Trento, which I really liked. I went one or two days, stayed in the hostels and then continued my journey by train.
Eventually I finished my studies at a Turkish university. This was because my father’s company had gone bankrupt. He had a lot of money but then he lost everything when I was 14. He was a customs officer. He wanted me to be a lawyer because, since he was a customs officer, he always had to do with an environment where there was a lot of law. He told me that following the path of a lawyer, I could have a solid profession. He convinced me without forcing me. In Italy, it takes three years plus two to get a law degree. In Turkey, instead it takes four. If the years of internship are added, in Italy it takes about 10 years before working in the field. In Turkey, it takes less. That’s why I finally graduated here.
Q: Have you worked for Price Waterhouse & Cooper?
CY: Yes, for a short time. I worked in the Istanbul office. One who lives in Istanbul can never leave it.
Q: Do you feel more Turkish or more a citizen of the world?
CY: I feel like a citizen of the world but I love Istanbul. The fact that I love her doesn’t mean that I don’t also feel like a citizen of the world. Everyone who comes here loves Istanbul.
Q: “Daydreamer” has a very important social value and the various locations in Istanbul represented in the soap become the protagonists themselves.
CY: Yes, in fact, it is a very difficult thing. My series have always been modern series. In Turkey, the series generally does not represent the world, but the local cultures of some part of Turkey. In “Daydreamer”, on the other hand, a modern language of Turkish and contemporary characters of Turkey is represented, so it was particular both here and in the world.
Q: What’s left of the Can Divit character?
CY: I love and miss the character. He is a peculiar, different character. I’ve never seen such a thing. It was lucky for me to play such a role. We created this figure together, like the way he dressed and his accessories. At first, I bought them myself. We spent a lot to give the character and his look “substance”. Then when a real fashion furor arose around Can Divit, all the brands arrived. Everyone wanted to be sponsors. This demonstrates the high quality of the series. When something is good, everyone wants to be with you. But when it doesn’t work, they don’t give you anything. It’s simple.
Q: Have you been the testimonial of any fashion house?
CY: We now have an agreement with Tudors, but not yet with an Italian brand. I’d like to do it. The Turkish agreement allows me to make arrangements with other brands as well.
Q: Which soap do you prefer between “Bay Yanliş” or “Daydreamer”?
CY: “Daydreamer” will always be and remain special to me. “Bay Yanliş” is too, as it’s a great and important series. The character I play now has characteristics that I really love. I act with great taste. It freed me more from Can Divit because with Can Divit, I had restrictions. In the script, I wasn’t that free. Sometimes the script forces you to act a certain way because the scene doesn’t allow you to improvise much. With my character now in “Bay Yanliş”, we improvise more. This greater freedom makes me feel less restricted in language as well as in behavior, for example. If I came in with a monkey over my shoulder, no one would say it’s a weird thing because my character has a lot of color. He is not forced into something very defined. Of course, “Daydreamer” (“The Wings of the Dream”) will always be special for me. I do not hide the fact that there is a nostalgic streak on my part. But now with“Bay Yanliş”, from an actor’s point of view, I feel more free and wild.
Q: What will your future work projects be?
CY: It is still too early to talk about future work projects because I am focused on what I do now. But who knows in the future, maybe I will come to Italy.
Q: Is there the possibility of a collaboration with Ferzan Ozpetek?
CY: Of course. We always call and talk on Whatsapp. We both want to do something together, to get to know each other. There is not yet a name and a particular project, but the will is there.
Q: Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
CY: The nice thing about being an actor is to be open to everything, to opportunities. This is something that excites me because you don’t know anything for sure. This always gives me more motivation. Let’s say that I am motivated by the very fact of not knowing.
Q: Would you leave the romantic comedy genre to compete with more challenging films, drama films, or historical films?
CY: This is a mistake that a lot of actors fall into. When they do one thing and become popular, like I did with “Daydreamer” internationally, they try to change roles. But why abandon the type of work to look for something new right now? Why not continue? At 30, I now feel better playing roles like that. When I’m 40, I won’t necessarily be able to do romantic comedy; this is a more mature age. At that time, I will make more action or historical films. In short, different roles. For example, Hugh Grant or Julia Roberts have mostly done romantic comedies. They have become iconic. In Turkey, there are a few of them. They become stars with romantic comedies and then they don’t do it anymore, as if they were a less valuable product. I don’t think so because even a romantic comedy is a precious thing. It’s difficult, not easy at all. It requires different qualities and efforts.
Q: Who is the actor you are inspired by?
CY: Brad Pitt, Mel Gibson and Johnny Depp, for style. These three actors have always inspired me.
Q: When did acting come into your life?
CY: It happened to me when I was a lawyer. I realized I didn’t want to be a lawyer. I had too much energy to release. At Price Waterhouse & Cooper, I started in the mergers, acquisition and tax sector. So, I was doing corporate law. However, I was open to everything. Being a lawyer bored me. As a character, I am a person who often risks getting bored. When it happens, I eventually leave. I must never get bored. I don’t want to know what I’ll do in 10 years, because thinking about this bores me. In fact. I want to be open. I do not want to know. I want to surprise myself. To welcome what life, even inadvertently, will bring me.
Q: Can Divit in “Daydreamer” also asks Sanem if he wants to accept the surprises that life brings to him.
CY: Can Divit has a lot of Can Yaman stuff. As an actor, I add a lot of myself to the characters I play. This means improvisation. The character transforms in a different way than in the script.
Q: Faruk Turgut is the film producer who most of all believed in you. What do you think of him?
CY: I think all the best of him. I see him as a dad, a very intelligent person, a person who has values. He gives, to all who deserve; he is a true and valiant person.
Q: Where does your heart take you?
CY: On the set.
Q: In a previous interview, you stated that when you cut your hair, you would donate it to a charity.
CY: We gave up on this idea because people perceived it as a megalomaniac thing. People criticized the initiative. People are always looking for something to criticize. Even if you do it in a positive way, people see it in a negative way.
Q: Do you support any charities?
CY: Yes, but I can’t say which ones.
(Can probably does not want to let people know which charities he supports.)
Q: Would you like to be a testimonial for a charity campaign or become an ambassador for a humanitarian organization?
CY: Yes. Why not? But when you do such a thing, people are always looking for a nasty thing to say about what you do. You have to be very careful. You do it with humanity but people falsify it, and this is pretty dangerous. It must be a professional thing in which you must trust and feel protected. If I feel they are protecting me, then I give the OK. Otherwise, it is always chaos. I have to avoid the chaos. I hate chaotic situations.
Q: What kinds of music do you like best?
CY: I like very large plays where there are Italian, Spanish, English, and Turkish songs. I always prefer remix songs.
Q: What’s your favorite song?
CY: Life is variety. When I listen to a song 50 times, then I don’t listen to it anymore. I like the revamped version of old music. There are bands that remake songs and make them more stimulating than the original. This rejuvenates the song. Take a heavy piece, for example. They remake it and transform it into something less old. Being open to this is important.
Q: Do you like traveling?
CY: Yes, but it is difficult for me to do it. Also, I’m very busy. If I were an unknown person, I would travel more. In fact, I have not been able to take a pleasure trip for a long time.
Q: What’s your relationship with success? By now you have become an international phenomenon.
CY: I don’t consider myself an international phenomenon. I just want to forget this. Knowing and remembering things brings you unhappiness. I try to live like a normal person. It’s not like I wake up and say I’m a phenomenon. I wake up and forget. I forget when I move. I forget when I travel. I forget when I come here. I like to forget about myself. But I have to remember when I need to. When it’s not needed, I prefer to forget.
Q: How do you feel about your popularity at this moment?
CY: The best thing about this moment is that people love me, and this love is a very emotional thing. Knowing that you are loved is pure. When I see people come to me with T-shirts that have my picture on them, I understand that they do it not because I’m famous, but because they love. My fans on this point are very fanatic. It’s a mania. It’s a very particular thing and this moves me; it excites me a lot.
Q: What do you think of the fact that in Italy they dedicated an ice cream to you?
CY: It is not the first time. In Spain, a lady colored her entire house with my photo. However, I see it as a positive, moving and exciting thing; it’s crazy. But it is not the first time. This has been happening for two years already but people notice it now. I saw it, but when I shared it, people thought it was a lie. Now I don’t share anymore. I gave up. In short, a new thing for others but not for me.
Q: What relationship do you have with social networks?
CY: I like to interact but one must always be careful. Because as I said, we tend to falsify. You say one thing and it is misrepresented. So, you have to be careful. However, I manage the accounts personally.
Q: Why are you no longer on Facebook?
CY: I have not been on Facebook for seven years. Instagram is enough for me.
Q: What relationship do you have with the haters?
CY: No relationship. They have a relationship with me. The haters are the ones who secretly adore you. So, when I see them, it makes me laugh and smile. The haters are a reflection of their own complexes.
Q: Some time ago there was a controversy over a shirtless photo of you sunbathing in Naples. Instagram censored it but then it reappeared.
CY: It is something that leaves you speechless. It is useless to comment.
(Sometimes the strict rules of social networks impose censorship of images that off the web would not even be taken into consideration for a complaint. )
Q: How did you experience the days of the lockdown?
CY: I was home alone. I trained two hours a day and tried to learn Spanish. I have read and watched some Iberian TV series or with Spanish subtitles. I also did it in Italian. Then I danced tango with my mom. We danced for three months and I learned a lot. I’ve been trying to learn some drums too, but I’m not able to play them yet. Returning to the set, I have no time left to pursue this hobby.
Q:Weren’t you afraid of the pandemic?
CY: I was at home, so no. Fear is not a feeling I am very used to. I wasn’t worried about myself but about the world. 2020 was a disaster. In addition to the pandemic, there was also the death of Kobe Bryant. Terrible.
Q: What are your favorite literary genres?
CY: I like Bukowski, Nietzsche, and Schopenauer. The last book I read is “Come un Respiro” by Ferzan Ozpetek.
Q: The next book you want to read?
CY: There are books that fans bring me in Spanish and Italian. If I have time, I will certainly read works in those languages. During the military, I read a lot of Ahmet Umit’s action books. Mom always brought me volumes, and during the draft I had a lot of time available.
Q: How did you live that experience?
CY: The other comrades were all shocked when they saw me. It was a different experience for them too. A good experience for sure. For me, it was a period of purification. To think, reflect and contemplate. Living for months with different people that I had never seen in my life was important to me. Also, as an actor, it was useful to observe the other comrades.
Q: When you get home, can you leave the actor outside the door and let only Can Yaman into the house?
CY: Other people won’t let me forget that I’m Can Yaman. Because people always remind me. When I go to a place, people go wild. The house is the only place I can only be Can. The house is sacred.
Note: This interview has been edited for clarity in the Italian to English translation.