by Paola Cesarini
Turkey’s supply of brilliant young performers is seemingly endless. Indeed, if there were binding national quotas for gorgeous, talented and versatile actors, the country would be a blatant outlaw. Within such bounty, this article will single out Furkan Andıç, one of the fastest rising stars in the vast dizi universe. Currently starring as Demir in the successful summer romantic comedy Her Yerde Sen (You Are Everywhere,) Furkan has been acting since 2011 in both comedy and drama. From guest appearances to leading man, he has already shown considerable skill and range as an actor, always seeking roles to expand his already considerable repertoire.
Furkan Andıç was born in Istanbul in 1990 into a middle-class family. He is of Bosnian descent from his mother’s side. Following high school, he studied Russian and Economics at the Kiev Polytechnic University (Ukraine). After a year, he returned to Turkey to continue his studies in the Visual Communications and Design Department at Yeditepe University. From an early age he displayed a passion for basketball, which he played successfully for 11 years. When a friend suggested that he should sign up with a talent agency, he accepted for the sake of earning pocket money. Soon, Furkan started regularly to appear in commercials. After working a few summers as an animator in a Turkish resort, he became seriously interested in acting and began to take lessons on various performance methods. His professional career as an actor officially began in 2011. Only 20 years old, he appeared in the teen-age series Kolej Günlüğü (College Diary) as one of the lead protagonists. The show narrates the intersecting lives of three high school students: nice, naive and well-to-do Mert (Furkan Andıç); troubled and rebellious Onur (Burak Deniz) and smart but poor Elif (Özge Çelik). Rather successful at home, the series was unfortunately never translated from Turkish into other languages.
Between 2012 and 2015, Furkan played supporting and recurring guest roles in various TV series. He appeared briefly as police officer Selim in Emir’in Yolu (the short-lived spin-off from Adini Feriha Koydum,) as Levent in the successful Umutsuz Ev Kadınları (a Turkish remake of the American “Desperate Housewives,) and as Harun in Yağmurdan Kaçarken. He also took on prominent roles in two ensemble-cast series: as Selim in Kaçak Gelinler, and as Gökhan in Kırgın Çiçekler.
Fame finally arrived in 2016, with Tatlı İntikam (Sweet Revenge,) where Furkan stars alongside Leyla Lydia Tuğutlu (from Delibal.) The story opens with Pelin, a beautiful, rich and spoiled bride, abandoned at the altar by her handsome but vacuous fiancée. Convinced that her recurring inability to find happiness in love is bad karma in return for her grave mistreatment of fellow medical student Tankut many years prior, Pelin seeks him out in order to make amends and obtain the forgiveness that might finally dispel the curse.
When she finally finds him, she discovers that Tankut is no longer an unattractive, awkward and timid boy. Like a cygnet that morphed into a swan, he now goes by Sinan (his middle name) and is the handsome and confident chef/co-owner of one of Istanbul’s most successful restaurants. In order realistically to interpret this role, Furkan attended several weeks of rigorous cooking training. Remembering how Pelin’s intentional humiliation of Tankut dramatically altered his life, Sinan decides to take advantage of the situation in order to exact a delayed retribution — hence the series’ title “Sweet Revenge”. More precisely, he makes his forgiving of Pelin conditional on her temporary employment in his restaurant, where he assigns her mostly menial roles. This is the best part of the series, offering several delightful comedic interludes between the two protagonists. Soon enough, Sinan’s youthful infatuation resurfaces. This time, however, his feelings are fully reciprocated by the capricious Pelin.
Tatlı İntikam starts as a very enjoyable romantic comedy. Along the way, the series develops dramatic elements that unfortunately progressively dilute its comedic nature. The show, however, worked much better as comedy than as a drama. In this context, Tankut’s remarkable transformation from a shy, unattractive, babbly and insecure nerd into a sexy, handsome, eloquent, and confident professional chef is undoubtedly the best part of Tatlı İntikam. Furkan is virtually unrecognizable as the flabby, gawky, timorous, spectacled, pimply medical student whose infatuation for Pelin borders on despair. In comparison, Chef Sinan exhibits not only a radically altered physical appearance but also a completely different personality. What is more, Furkan’s interpretation results perfectly credible in both roles. It is no wonder, then, that this performance set Furkan firmly on the path to stardom.
Furkan’s most impressive acting in Tatlı İntikam takes place when Sinan exhibits remnants of Tankut’s personality. These are usually brief scenes that reveal how, underneath Sinan’s cool, strong and charismatic persona, Tankut’s uncommon sensitivity, generosity and ability to love still survive. The series also benefits from an impressive chemistry between the main leads. Leyla Lydia Tuğutlu is perfect as the childish, entitled, but also alluring Pelin, whose love for Sinan gives her the opportunity finally to grow up. Especially in season 2, where he exhibits a more assertive, leather-clad masculine appearance, Furkan is perhaps at his most attractive. Together with Leyla, they literally fire up the screen in several romantic scenes. For this series, Furkan Andiç deservedly received two Altın Kelebek nominations — for Best TV Actor in a Comedy and for Best TV Couple. He eventually brought home the award for the latter.
Immediately following Tatlı İntikam, Furkan Andiç starred in the ensemble cinematic comedy Damat Takımı (The Groom’s Team), about a group of friends’ shenanigans in the wake of marriage. This is to date his first and only movie.
The same year, Furkan gained the opportunity to star as the male lead in the powerful drama Meryem along side Ayça Ayşin Turan (from “The Protector”.) After two comedic roles, electing to perform such a different character constituted a smart career choice for the young actor. Meryem opens with a tragedy. Sevinç, the young, beautiful and pregnant soon bride-to-be of the handsome, rich and powerful Savaş Sargun, dies in a hit and run. The accident’s main culprit is the unscrupulous Oktay Şahin, a newly minted state prosecutor with uncommon intelligence and an unstable, thoroughly evil personality. Oktay was driving under the influence on the way back from a dinner with his girlfriend Meryem — a generous but incredibly naive young woman, who works in her father’s bakery. When Oktay arranges for Meryem to take the blame for the accident, Savaş directs his vengeful fury towards the young woman, going as far as setting her home on fire. Soon enough, however, Savaş realizes that Meryem’s deeply compassionate and moral character would never allow her to abandon a wounded woman to her death. He therefore implacably sets out to seek the truth, which Meryem’s stubbornly refuses to reveal in order to keep her promise to Oktay. Amidst a great deal of tragedy and a seemingly inexhaustible array of despicable human beings, Savaş and Meryem eventually find refuge in their improbable love.
Meryem has an interesting premise, and the first several episodes offer a veritable emotional roller coaster. Half way through the series, however, the script becomes repetitive and, at times, illogical. The show is however still worth watching on account of several brilliant performances, especially Ayça’s and Furkan’s. Once again the young actor brilliantly impersonates a character experiencing considerable evolution. We first meet Savaş as an incredibly angry, self-centered, somewhat immature and entitled young man, whose blind rage seeks to annihilate everything in his wake. Eventually, tenacity supersedes anger, and newfound love gradually replaces desperation. Savaş’ transformation is slow but steady and, by the end of the series, he is a fundamentally different man than the one we first met. After Tatlı İntikam’s success, Meryem offered Furkan the inestimable opportunity to showcase his notable dramatic acting skills. Notwithstanding the script’s shortcomings towards the end, the series effectively prevented him from being permanently type cast as a rom-com heartthrob, and solidified his reputation as a versatile actor.
For his next role, Furkan accepted to impersonate Volkan in the 2019 TV drama Kardeş Çocukları. Centered on the dysfunctional relationship between two sisters and their children, the series regrettably leaves Furkan’s character ill defined. Probably for this reason, Mr. Andiç decided to leave the show before its completion, despite remarkable audience success. The series suffered significantly from his early departure, and is now scheduled to conclude after only 21 episodes.
While Kardeş Çocukları’s script hardly showcased Furkan’s acting skills, his next project turned out to be exactly what the doctor ordered. Her Yerde Sen — the delightful dizi that started airing over the summer — rewardingly returns Furkan to familiar rom-com territory. The storyline includes several dejá vus. Demir is a successful, handsome, charismatic and disciplined architect with a controlling and borderline anti-social personality. He returns to Turkey after a two-year absence to head Artemim, a small but prestigious architectural firm. During his time in the Far East, he developed not only remarkable Tai-Chi skills, but also a distinctive minimalist taste and a deep abhorrence of pretense. On the other hand, provincial Selin (beautifully interpreted by the fabulous Aybüke Pusat,) is a brilliant, extrovert, outspoken, and energetic interior designer (always at Artemim,) with a passion for colors, food and animals, and an insatiable devotion to her friends and family. Not surprisingly these two opposites initially fail to attract, and sparks fly when they not only have to work together, but are also forced to cohabit — having purchased the same house from two darling but completely absent-minded middle aged sisters, with a penchant for eccentric schemes. When neither agrees to relinquish the house to the other, conflict ensues.
Demir’s motives to hold on to the home go very deep. Unbeknown to Selin, the house is the one he grew up in until his mother abandoned him at an early age, and he subsequently spent the rest of his childhood in boarding school. It is the place where his best and worst memories coexist, and where he secretly longs to recuperate the magic of his infancy. On the other hand, Selin’s refusal is justified by the considerable time, money and effort invested in restoring the house, For the young interior designer, the home represents her hard-fought emancipation from a loving but hyper-protective family. As times goes by, Selin falls gradually for Demir, while the latter gets increasingly caught up in her infectiously joyous but chaotic world. Slowly but surely — and aided by some friendly cupid-like interference — Demir eventually realizes that Selin, and not the house, is the “home” his solitary and wounded soul may finally find refuge in.
Thanks to an intelligent, effervescent, detail-oriented script and a brilliant ensemble performance, Her Yerde Sen never descends into a farce, or relinquishes its comedic soul for an inconsistent dramatic turn of events. Between ups and downs, and several humorous interludes, Demir and Selin manage to build a relationship on strong foundations. For Demir, adorable Selin and her motley crew of pets, friends and relatives become the loving family that he never had. Coaxing him out of his endemic grumpiness, she also teaches him not to take himself too seriously and embrace life with joy and enthusiasm. On the other hand, in Selin’s eyes Demir is Peter Pan — the strong, reliable and charismatic man of her dreams who, contrary to her beloved father, (almost) always recognizes and respects her as an equal, rather than a fragile and dependent creature requiring constant protection. What is more, Furkan and Aybüke’s brilliant performances and undeniable chemistry sprinkle this show with genuine magic. They are thoroughly credible not only as lovers, but also as colleagues, roommates and friends. Finally, thanks to several cleverly written, and carefully and tastefully assembled romantic scenes, the story’s main protagonists experience a great deal of constructive and meaningful interaction. Consequently, viewers are able to get more than a satisfactory glimpse into this unlikely couple’s relationship — something that rarely occurs in Turkish series.
Tall, handsome, athletic and endowed with one of the sweetest smiles in Turkish show business, Furkan owes a great deal to his physical appearance. There is however a lot more to Mr. Andıç than meets the eye. From both his performances and his conversations with the media, he comes across as an intelligent young man with an attractive sense of humor and a healthy ability to poke fun at himself. Indeed, in recent interviews, he shared that he is a cat-loving vegetarian who hopes to learn to play a musical instrument, and one day settle on a tropical island. When asked about his full lips, — which happen to be his fans’ favorite feature — he answers that it is not “easy” to live with them. And then, proceeds to relate how his lips caused him articulation problems as a child, and how he continues to bite them when he is stressed.
He often describes himself as sincere, hyperactive and excitable but, interestingly enough, also as impulsive and forgetful. While conscious of and grateful for his good looks, Furkan regards himself as “sexy” only in so far as he can pretend to be, if that is what a role requires. He is immensely proud of his ability to find happiness in small things and maintain the same circle of friends since elementary school. He is present on social media, but has been very careful thus far not to give to the tabloids much opportunity to malign his personal life.
The cinematic role he would have loved most to interpret is that of Guido from La vita é bella (Life is Beautiful) — an Oscar-winning Holocaust-themed Italian movie written and directed by Roberto Benigni (who also played Guido.) Considering that Benigni is a comedian, standing at least a foot shorter and nowhere near Furkan’s handsomeness, this is indeed quite an interesting and surprisingly substantive choice. His favorite film director is Christopher Nolan, well known internationally for sci-fi masterpieces as Inception and Interstellar, as well as for his remarkable Batman trilogy. One may thus evince that Furkan would be quite amenable to act in a fantastic/sci-fi film or series. He strongly believes that performing requires continuous training and actively continues to study under experienced coaches. Interestingly, immediately following Her Yerde Sen, he plans to perform for the very first time in a theatrical production.
Like many other young Turkish actors, he dreams of working for a time in America, where he would treasure the opportunity of broadening his acting skills. Indeed, more than once, he declared that he aspires to take his acting to a new level. Thus, no one should be surprised to see him soon in a challenging, non-traditional role. Unfortunately, the Turkish TV and Film industry is so competitive as to be generally risk-averse. Truly original and groundbreaking projects are hard to come by — especially for a young actor. This is most likely the reason why, despite having worked in several successful series, Furkan has yet to find the very unique role that will finally grant him a breakout performance — such as Muzaffer in Kelebeğin Rüyası or Barış Ayaz in Delibal. This resourceful young actor, however, has decided to take matters in his own hands and is now invested in screenwriting, in the hope soon to direct and star in his own movie.
Since his first acting job back in 2011, Furkan Andiç has been a constant feature in Turkey’s dizi scene. Time and again, he has demonstrated his ability to perform well in different genres, and transform himself into whatever the part required. Waiting for a role that he can really sink his teeth in, he continues to deliver rich and nuanced performances, working to the best of his ability within the parameters of available scripts. At the same time, as his recent experience with Kardeş Çocukları illustrates, he clearly won’t compromise his professional integrity for the sake of a paycheck. These days, Furkan Andiç is indeed everywhere. Loyal dizi viewers will continue to enjoy his remarkable performance as Demir in more episodes of Her Yerde Sen. For the future, however, we strongly hope that he may soon get the opportunity of taking his acting to a whole new level.
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A native of Italy, Paola Cesarini has a Ph.D. in Political Science and worked as an international civil servant, a university professor, and a leader in higher education for many years. She is fluent in six languages and is currently learning Turkish. She lives in Denver, CO with her husband and two children. In her free time, she enjoys reading, cooking, classical music, swimming, skiing and exploring other cultures.
@ Copyright by North America TEN and Paola Cesarini