Turkey's Culture Ministry clarifies Julianne Moore question
ISTANBULTurkey’s Culture and Tourism Ministry has finally made an official statement about why it shelved a short film with Hollywood actress Julianne Moore to promote tourism in Turkey, two years after it nixed the project.
“It was determined that the promotional film would not be useful for the country’s image, so it was not purchased and used,” the ministry said in a response to questions on the matter.
“In 2014, the ministry agreed with Julianne Moore via a relevant Turkish company in the U.S. But the promotional film was not purchased since it did not meet the contact criteria signed with the company. According to the technical report prepared by the General Directorate of Cinema, it was stated that the promotional film did meet many criteria in the contract, including the picture quality and content. For this reason, regardless of the fact that the lead actress is a Hollywood star, [the film was not purchased],” it said.
The ministry made a contract with Iconisus & I Mean It, headed by famous Turkish advertiser Emrah Yücel, in 2014. Yücel hired Moore and started shooting the film, after which the company shared scenes from the film to the media, saying Moore would become the face of Turkey.
The ministry, however, later decided not to broadcast the film, citing Moore’s “poor acting.”
In February 2015, Moore won the Best Actress Award at the Oscars for her performance in the film “Still Alice” after four previous Oscar nomination disappointments.
The agency announced that it had chosen Moore for the “Home Of” promotional film project after it had won the tender for the project. In the film, Moore was seen revisiting her childhood journeys to Turkey while traveling on an airplane.
During budget talks on Nov. 16, Republican People’s Party deputy Utku Çakırözer asked Culture and Tourism Minister Nabi Avcı about the money spent for the film and the reason why it was not aired. “They said they did not like Moore’s acting but she won the Oscar sometime later,” he told the minister.
Was Moore paid?
“It is mentioned in the statement that some criteria were not met. It should be transparently revealed; which criteria are these?” Çakıözer said. “Was the problem Julianne Moore? Were Moore and the company paid compensation? Was this compensation met by our citizens’ taxes? Did Moore act for free?”
The promotional film was shot in Los Angeles with Moore and was expected to be aired in Turkey in February 2014. The choice of Moore had been criticized at the time by a number of prominent figures in Turkey, from advertisers to politicians, with many slamming her “depressing persona.”
The ministry sources said there was nothing unique about the project, emphasizing that “over 30 similar films” with other actors have been made.
In an interview with Hürriyet in 2014, Yücel said Moore was the right choice, as she would appeal to American and British people, women, middle-aged people and wealthier potential tourists whom Turkey is trying to attract to the country.