Legendary actor of ‘Turkish Star Wars’ vows to ‘not die’ until he gets his royalties
İsmail Bayrak - ISTANBUL
Cüneyt Arkın is seen on the poster of his cult movie, The Man Who Saved the Earth, which is also known as the Turkish Star Wars.
Arkın, 81, was hospitalized when he fell ill during his vacation in Istanbul’s Silivri district on Aug. 5.
The incident alarmed Turks, who overwhelmingly see Arkın as one of the last living heroes of the golden age of Turkish cinema.
His wife, Betül Arkın, told daily Hürriyet that the actor, who suffers from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), is fine but will stay in hospital for another couple of days.
“We don’t make him talk too much in the hospital bed so that he won’t get tired. He told us that he would not die until he is paid his royalties,” Betül Arkın said.
Starting from the 1960s, Arkın acted in some 400 movies, including quasi-historical epics like “Malkoçoğlu,” “Battal Gazi” and “Kara Murat.”
Due to a lack of effective legal framework to protect actors’ copyrights in Turkey, many former stars fail to earn a penny despite the fact that their movies have been broadcast by dozens of television channels for thousands of times in years.
He also acquired global fame with “The Man Who Saved the World” (Dünyayı Kurtaran Adam), the 1982 movie known abroad as the “Turkish Star Wars.”
The story follows two heroes, Arkın and Aytekin Akkaya, who set off on a journey through space in their spaceships to protect the world against unknown powers. Later they crash-land on an alien world that is ruled by a malevolent wizard.
The B movie had initially gained infamy for its incoherent plot, poor special effects and unabashed stealing of scenes and music from the original Star Wars, but in years it earned cult status and was even screened in the United States with English subtitles in 2013.