Director Fatih Akın suspends Dink film idea after actors rejected role
Despite suspending his movie about Hrant Dink, Fatih Akın tackles the Armenian Genocide in a new movie called 'The Cut.'Turkish-German director Fatih Akın has said he wanted to shoot a film about assassinated Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink but had to freeze the project after Turkish actors refused the role.
“I planned to shoot a movie about Hrant Dink after ‘Soul Kitchen.’ I wrote a scenario based on 12 articles by Hrant Dink which were published in Agos [Dink’s Turkish-Armenian newspapers]. I don’t know whether it would have been a good movie. But I could not persuade any Turkish actor to perform as Hrant. They all found the scenario too heavy. Then I had to freeze the project,” Akın told weekly Agos in a recent interview.
“I did not want any actor to get hurt. But a movie about Hrant had to be a ‘Turkish film’ as well. An American or French actor could not act as Hrant. We have to deal with this issue ourselves. But it means that the time has not yet come for this,” said Akın.
Responding to Akın’s comments, two younger Turkish actors both lamented that they could not fit the role. “If I were the right age, I would have wanted [to play Dink],” said actor Rıza Kocaoğlu, who is played in a number of films and series.
“I wish I could play [Dink],” tweeted another prominent actor, Sarp Akkaya.
Dink, the highly esteemed former editor-in-chief of Agos, was murdered in broad daylight in front of his newspaper’s building on Jan. 19, 2007, by a 17-year-old Turkish nationalist. The triggerman, Ogün Samast, was convicted of premeditated murder and sentenced to 22 years and 10 months in prison after a two year-trial, but lawyers representing the Dink family have repeatedly expressed their dismay over the way the investigations and the trial were conducted.
Akın said he had conducted research about Armenians as he was working on Dink’s articles, adding that he had another scenario in mind. “A story about the Anatolian travelers who went to America, a kind of western. I mixed some parts of the Hrant’s scenario with this film and then we had ‘The Cut.’”
‘The Cut’ is a co-production between Germany, France, Italy, Russia, Poland, Canada and Turkey, and received funding from the Filmförderung Hamburg Schleswig-Holstein, among others. It is scheduled for release in Germany on Oct. 16 by Pandora Film Verleih.
Akın said he was influenced by the research of Wolfgang Gust and Taner Akçam while writing his movie.
In the new Akın movie, Tahar Rahim, a French actor of Algerian origin, plays an Armenian man living in Mardin, located in the southeastern part of Turkey, who survived the killings of 1915 and starts a journey that takes him to America in a search for his two daughters.
Akın said he was also satisfied with the performances of the Turkish actors in ‘The Cut.’
“Bartu Küçükçağlayan is in a key role. Bartu acted with passion and intelligence. At the same time, [he acted] with such innocence… My friend Önder Çakar, who wrote the Turkish dialogue, also performs in the movie. Also, Turkish actors from Germany such as Numan Acar, Korkmaz Arslan, Mehmet Yılmaz and a Brit from Cyprus, Akın Gazi, are also in the film,” he said, adding that he wanted to cast Gazi as legendary Turkish-Kurdish actor and director Yılmaz Güney in a future film.
Armenians say up to 1.5 million of their forebears were killed in 1915 and 1916 by the forces of the Ottoman Empire in what many around the world have termed a genocide, which Ankara denies. Turkey also disputes the figure, arguing that only 500,000 died while denying that the killings amounted to a genocide, ascribing the toll to fighting and starvation during World War I.