Hollywood Needs a Turkish Story

The Turkish image in Hollywood has revolved around movies with no artistic value but which were used to spread propaganda such as “Midnight Express”, directed by Oliver Stone, or “Laurence of Arabia” and “Ararat”. The Turkish characters are shown only when there is a need for an evil Middle Easterner in a scene or when a villain is needed for a fight scene with the main character.
Apart from the fact that Turkish actors are practically nonexistent in Hollywood, the lack of Turkish stories adapted into movies is making the struggle all the more difficult. Murat Demir, aka Alex, is an actor who has been appearing in movies, series and commercials for the last 16 years.  

Alex Demir.

This actor, born in New York, grew up in the Bronx and Westchester County. As per his mother’s request, he studied political science at Iona College, though half heartedly. He has had no work experience related to his studies. He has had roles in off Broadway plays. Following the advice of his teachers, who envisioned a career in movies rather than theater for him, he left New York for a life in Hollywood. He has been living in Los Angeles, the center of Hollywood, for the last 12 years.

Murat (Alex) Demir is an only child and his father, a doctor, came to the US in the 60’s. He lost his father when he was 15. He had his first television series experience in The Young and Restless, a TV series also very popular in Turkey.  His first five-minute role on the CBS series was extended to a five-month run due to the e-mails sent by the viewers. The movie “Talk to Taka”, in which he appeared and also in which Pat Morita, the actor who played the wise karate master in Karate Kid, Mr. Miage, made an appearance as a sushi chef, has been shown in independent film festivals. “The Art of a Bullet” is also a movie he has appeared in lately.  

Demir, who appeared in the series titled “Passion” on NBC complains about the bad roles that are offered to Turks in Hollywood.  “The Turks are being cast in roles such as terrorists, fugitives, ugly or villainous characters. The stories that talk about the Turks as they are do not appear in Hollywood,” he says. The Marshall, V.I.P., and Messengers are also some of the series that Demir has worked on.

Demir is 40 years old now. He states that his success does not only hold a personal importance but is also important for other Turks in Hollywood. As the number of Turks that write scenarios, and that direct movies increase, he thinks that he will be able to have better and larger roles.

Murat Demir, aka Alex, is an actor who has been appearing in movies, series and commercials for the last 16 years.

Demir says that they had been looking for a Turkish director for a movie titled “Sweet Underground”, which was scripted by one of his friends and that they reached Ertuğrul Tüfekçioğlu and got the movie done. Demir believes that successful Turkish people may change the image of Turks in Hollywood.

When asked whether he has tried to make it in Turkey, he answers that the last time he went to Turkey was fifteen years ago and as he did not know anyone there he has not tried to work in Turkey. Demir’s sister, a teacher, and his retired mother are currently residing in New York.

Leading Roles: Talk to Taka, The Art of A Bullet, Dark Spiral, Sweet Underground, Loretta Park, Task Force, Smart Money, Sickness, To Protect and Serve, End to A Means. Supporting Roles: The Debt, Quietus.

Flipped (MTV Production), Silk Stalkings, V.I.P., The Marshall, Brooklyn South, Diagnosis Murder, Messengers, One World.

(August 2005, 18th issue)
Last modified onSaturday, 06 May 2017 10:07