Engin Akyürek (born 12 October 1981) is a Turkish actor best known for his role as Kerim Ilgaz in Turkish super hit series Fatmagül'ün Suçu Ne? and of Komiser Ömer Demir in the second most internationally sold Turkish series Kara Para Aşk .
Early life and education
Engin Akyürek was born on 12 October 1981 in Ankara, Turkey. His father is a retired government official and his mother is a homemaker. He has a younger brother Erin. He graduated from Ankara University's Department of History. His parents still reside in Ankara, while he and his brother live in Istanbul.
In 2004, two years after graduating from university, Engin Akyürek took part in the Turkiye’nin Yildizlari (Turkey's Star) TV competition. His first place win in this competition landed him a supporting role in the TV series, Yabanci Damat (Foreign Groom) (2004–2007), produced by Yagmur Taylan and Durul Taylan.It was the first Turkish series exported to Greece and Europe and the first important success for Turkish series' export. It's about the love of a Greek man and a Turkish woman.
After increasing the number of his fans with his first series, Akyürek did his first movie, Zeki Demirkubuz's Kader (2006). For the role of "Cevat" in this movie, he won the Modern Cinema Actors & Actresses Association (Casod) award for the "Most Promising Actor", and Cinema Writers Association (Siyad) award also for the "Most Promising Actor", in 2006.
His next project was TV Series "Karayilan" (2007-08) which was directed by Cem Akyoldas. This series was about the French occupation of Gaziantep and it had the second highest budget for TV Series in Turkey. Akyürek starred as Nizipli/Halim.
In 2009, Akyürek got his first leading role when he played the male psychotic lover, Mustafa Bulut, in the TV series Bir Bulut Olsam (Above the Clouds), written by Meral Okay and directed by Ulas Inanc. Akyürek considers his character Mustafa Bulut as his best role so far and the one closest to his heart.
Though, Akyürek portrayed an anti-hero early in his career, yet his very next character as a lead got deeply embedded in every viewer's mind. He portrayed the male romantic lead, Kerim Ilgaz, in Fatmagul'ün Suçu Ne? (What's the Fault of Fatmagul) (2010–2012), a TV series about societal issues surrounding a rape victim. The original scenario of Fatmagul'ün Suçu Ne? by Vedat Turkali, is written by Ece Yorenc and Melek Gencoglu for TV Drama and directed by Hilal Saral and produced by Kerem Catay. His performance in this series brought him many awards and he became one of the most popular actors in Turkey. This role also made him one of the most recognized and loved Turkish actors in the Middle East and Latin America.
He has starred as Tekin in a movie called Bi Küçük Eylül Meselesi (A Small September Affair) written and directed by Kerem Deren. The movie takes place in Bozcada (2014).
He came back to the TV screens in 2014 with the his character of police officer Ömer Demir in Kara Para Aşk (Black Money Love) (2014-15), written by Eylem Canbolat and Sema Ergenekon and directed by Ahmet Katiksiz for, for which he won the 'Best Actor' in Seoul International Drama Awards (2015) and was nominated in the same category at the International Emmy Awards (2015).
After Kara Para Aşk, Akyürek took a break from acting for some time and returned to small screen with his next series Ölene Kadar (Until Death) in January 2017. It was produced by TIMS and written by Elif Usman anf Sevgi Yilmaz. The first four episodes were directed by Umur Turagay and the rest by Feride Kaytan. In Ölene Kadar, Akyürek played the role of Dr. Dağhan Soysür who was convicted for murdering a business tycoon Sezai Karali when he was a 24-year old medical-grad pursuing his specialization. Due to this false accusation, Dağhan lost his youth, his career, the woman he loved and his unborn child. 11 years later, Dağhan is called upon by a young lawyer Selvi Nardan (Fahriye Evcen Özçivit), who claims that she knows he is innocent and can prove in court that Dağhan never committed the murder for which he has served more than a decade in confinement. Though the series had a strong theme and direction, and Akyürek's romantic pair with Fahriye was making waves internationally, Ölene Kadar failed to impress the local Turkish audience, and due to low ratings, the series had its finale at its 13th episode.
Akyürek's next projects were movies, first one being Çocuklar Sana Emanet (Children Entrusted to You) released on March 23, 2018. It was written and directed by Çagan Irmak and produced by Avsar. Apart from Akyürek, the cast includes veteran actress Serif Sezer, Hilal Altinbilek, Osman Alkas and child star Erin Devrim.
The movie starts with a young man Kerem, who is the son of an elite Istanbul family and an architect in high demand. He has everything and a beautiful wife Yeşim (Hilal Altinbilek), money, career and status. He lives in a luxurious block of flats with a view to a scenic landscape. He is a winner of this life and a lucky man. But not everything is as perfect as it is seen. The young couple has problems with childlessness and this fact, from time to time, tests their relationship’s solidity. They try several methods of fertilization to increase the chances and make Yesim more likely to conceive a child with no success.
Kerem realizes Yesim’s hopes are shattered and that she needs moral support. He offers to go to their summer house to take the edge off. They hit the road with Kerem driving. All of a sudden, a child jumps in front of the speeding car which causes Kerem to lose control of the vehicle and it tumbles downhill. Kerem gets heavily injured but survives, but he loses his beautiful wife. The child also dies at the scene of the accident. Kerem holds himself responsible for their deaths and cannot overcome his feelings of pain and guilt. This scene, actually, is the first notorious accent of the film, after which, the hero crosses over a new stage of his life, cardinally differing from the previous ones.
Kerim survives after the catastrophe, but is pressed by a mass of emotional sufferings and shocks; firstly, the loss of his beloved and secondly the responsibility for the child’s death. Life stopped shining in its bright colors for Kerem, instead of feeling a joy of being; his soul is eroded by sense of guilt. Feeling guilty about the tragedy is what becomes Kerem’s internal burden, his fatality and punishment. It can be said that he voluntarily chose the fate, thinking, it was a punishment for the people`s death, surrendering himself to a whore of sufferings and compunction, which eats him from inside. Bringing himself to the edge of emotional meltdown, losing connection with reality, Kerem sinks into abyss of his misery and allows his inner fears and demons of his sick soul, to revive and to influence on his life. So, in this moment, mystics, gloom and unreality come in his life. A monster from the other world starts chasing him, whom the hero released refusing bright sides of his own soul. Kerem tries to get better, but it does not work and he decides to isolate himself from his work, family, friends, basically from everyone and everything around him and travels to a small town named Assos. In a remote village, he meets a blind woman (Serif Sezer), the local shaman and healer, who wants to help him to overcome his pain. Connected with the parallel worlds, she opens Kerem's eyes on many details of his life coming from his childhood. Kerem recollects a devilish villain, who was living behind and was hunting little children. He recollects vague pictures of his childhood, he cannot remember precise the bloody events taking place in that time, but he just found out that there was a fatal link between him and the villain. The dead child, who is an accidental victim of Kerem, missing the world of the alive, has opened “a portal of Limb”, setting free the villain-demon, who claims revenge from Kerem.
At this point of the story, the genre transforms from psychological drama with elements of thriller to a classical horror. Actually, the line in between of them is thin, but it exists.
The monster, fostered in the depths of Kerem`s soul, becomes out of control. The more the fears and sufferings of Kerem increase, the more the power of the monster straightens. The only way for him is to win his both inner and outer demons. The second aspect of the film is this struggle of Kerem with the monster, or more correctly, Kerem’s struggle with himself.
A certain symbolism is seen in the fight, which is peculiar to the film in whole. Finding strengths, Kerem wins. But the blind woman, who represents good, gives her life in the name of destroying evil. Indeed, the victory over the monster means not only freedom of Kerem, but also releasing of souls of innocent children, who became victims of the hellish creature, living at one time in the musk of a human being. After getting rid of his monsters, inhabited in his soul and reality, Kerem starts seeing the beauty of life again.
The finale of the story is quite clear and optimistic. Having won his inner demons, Kerem refuses the dark side of his soul. That means, he forms the better reality. He forgives himself, kills the monster in himself; he kills an evil outside, because everything is interconnected. “Life is everywhere!” – as if summing up the story by Kerem`s wife Yeşim , who is looking at him from the other but better world. She hints that Life is not restricted by the frames of earthy existing.
Akyürek's next venture on the silver screen was the movie Bir Aşk Iki Hayat (One Love Two Lives) in 2019. It was produced by Ay yapim and written by Burcu Gorgun Toptas and Ozlem Yilmaz, whereas Ali Bilgin did the direction. The movie was an adaptation of a Greek movie and got released on February 13, 2019. In this movie Engin Akyürek is in the role of an advertising director Umut, Bergüzar Korel in the role of an architect Deniz. The movie tells how the choice of one of the two possibilities-to go out for a walk with the dog or stay home, change the life of Umut; how it affects his fate. Life provides thousands of possibilities. We never know what's best for us. When we take the first step, we don't assume that a good start can have a bad ending, and the bad start can lead to a happy end. The film affects another subject. It tells us, somewhere beyond there is another one of the possibility. The things we can't survive here, happen to us somewhere else. Umut sees life through the prism of the theory of parallel universes and tells the viewers: come see what version of your life you live in fact.
This film responded to "the question is not correct". The theme of parallel universes lately, is a favorite for the people who work in the genre of science fiction. This is where they are headed for it differently. They didn't pass the role of fate. That's the part of the movie that has huddled love. It tells us, whatever choices you make, whatever you pass, at the right time, in the right place, you will fall in love with the person you are destined for.
Akyürek has returned to the small screen with his series Sefirin Kizi (The Ambassador's Daughter) from December 16, 2019. The series is a joint production of O3 Medya and NGM and is aired on Star TV. It is written by Nehir Erdem and Ayse Ferda Eryilmaz and directed by Emre Kabakusak. Akyürek plays the role of Sancar, the son of a poor farmer, who is loved by Narê (Neslihan Atagül), the daughter of a Turkish ambassador who came to Bodrum when she was a child. These two are opposite to each other but fell madly in love and struggle for their love for years. Eventually, the girl decides to escape with the boy, but on the night they are to elope, Narê suddenly disappears. No one ever sees her again. Some say she fell into the sea and died. Others said that she escaped or fled to Europe. A folk singer, sings their story that the daughter of the ambassador flew away like a bird. Thus, the unhappy story of Sancar and Narê, becomes a legend. The series is currently on-air in Turkey to-date April 2020 but has been postponed after its 15th episode due to the lockdown across the world because of COVID-19. The series tops the ratings during its air time on Monday nights.