Cagatay for ELLE magazine, January 2019
Receiving his first offer for a dizi role within two hours of his Best Model win, Cagatay breathed life into the lead role of Emir Sarrafoglu in the phenomenally successful Medyapim production “Adini Feriha Koydum” (2011-2012). He brought back the role of Emir in a short-lived spin-off series “Emir’in Yolu”.
Cagatay’s role as Yaman Koper in “Medcezir” (2013-2015) catapulted him into international stardom, leading to his first Golden Butterfly award for Best Actor and ELLE Style awards. In addition, Cagatay reveals his formidable musical talent as he lends his voice to many songs on the show.
In September 2016, in a shift away from his lover boy roles, Cagatay took on the lead role of Sarp Yilmaz, a resolved, unwavering, undercover policeman in the action-packed and widely acclaimed dizi “Icerde”, the first of its genre for Turkey.
After a hiatus from the dizi space since Icerde, Cagatay returned for a guest role in Ay Yapim’s Menajirimi Ara in September 2020, where he appeared as himself and hinted at his upcoming movie role in Mucadele Cikmazi (“Struggle Alley”). The movie has since been renamed to Kagittan Hayatlar (“Paper Lives”).
In 2010, even before his win as Best Model, Cagatay starred in a silent, black-and-white short film “Paranoia” directed by Ozgur Ozer. This was preceded by a stint as an extra in the Turkish comedy film Recep Ivedik 3. Once he had more experience as an actor, in between filming Adini Feriha Koydum, he appeared as a maverick fighter pilot in an ensemble cast for “Anadolu Kartallari”, a movie commissioned by the Turkish Air Force, and fashioned after the hugely successful 1986 Hollywood movie, Top Gun.
In late 2015, Cagatay prepared for 6 months for his role as Baris in “Delibal“, taking drumming lessons and studying people with mental health issues, so that he could believably essay the role of a talented musician and student of architecture who also struggles with bi-polar disease. In addition to his acting prowess, Cagatay climbed the music charts with “Mutlu Sonsuz”, the principal song for the movie’s music track.
Most recently, Cagatay completed filming for Kagittan Hayatlar (previously Mucadele Cikmazi) , a production by OGM Pictures and directed by Can Ulkay (Ayla), which will be on Netflix on March 12, 2021.
More details of his projects are available in our Blog.
Cagatay’s domestic success and international appeal led to him being selected as the lead for Netflix’s first original Turkish production “The Protector” (2018 – 2020), a series based on the book Karakalem, written by N. Ipek Gokdel. He plays the titular ‘Hakan Muhafiz’, a young man bestowed with supernatural powers and the responsibility to protect Istanbul against The Immortals.
Concluding with 32 episodes over 4 seasons, The Protector has been an incredible success for Netflix, who confirms that the first season was seen by 10 million member households globally in its first month, with the highest viewing figures captured in Turkey, followed by Latin American countries. Members in several other regions from Europe to the Middle East, and countries from Canada to Australia also loved to view Hakan’s story.
This global success opens new opportunities for Cagatay, who is back on Netflix with his new movie Kagittan Hayatlar. As described by Netflix, “In the streets of Istanbul, ailing waste warehouse worker Mehmet takes a small boy under his wing and must soon confront his own traumatic childhood.” The movie demands a completely new avatar from Cagatay, playing the role of Mehmet who runs the solid waste warehouse in the neighborhood.
In December 2020, it was annouced that Cagatay will play the lead in “Yesilcam: A Cinema Animal” coming to BluTV as a 2 seasons, 10-episode per season package produced by ES Films. Written by Levent Centak and Volkan Sumbul, Cagatay will play a filmmaker who is down on his luck but makes a comeback during the golden era of Turkish cinematic history, also known as the Yesilcam era.
The first teaser for the show was released on February 12, 2021, to rave reviews and excitement from fans and industry insiders alike. The flamboyant promotion accompanied by Emel Sayın’s song “If Dreams Come True”, opens the doors to a glorious and nostalgic world while taking the audience to a Yesilcam movie premiere in the 1960s.
This is a big budget period piece by BluTV, which is the up and coming, premier Turkish digital platform also growing its footprint globally. Having the opportunity to showcase the Turkish film industry in this manner is an excellent career opportunity for Cagatay, and he looks perfect for the role.
For more detailed information about this project, click here.
In October 2019, in an interview with GQMiddleEast, Cagatay said, “I’ve never told anyone about this by the way. Just my close friends know I’m going to shoot a film as a director. You are the first to know. I’m so excited. Just dreaming every day about it. Every moment.” The dream has come true and Cagatay’s short film “Birdie” has been selected for the Oxford Film Festival, held in Mississippi in March 2021. As screenwriter and director, it’s a film he made with his younger brother, Atalay, as assistant director. Atalay is a film school graduate from the University of the Arts in London.
In 2015-2016, while in Los Angeles and attending film classes, Cagatay had also made a short film on the homeless called ‘Home’ but it has not been available for public viewing.
Photo of "Birdie" from Oxford Film Fesitval Lineup
Cagatay with Taylor Hill for the Colin's commercial
In the course of his career, Cagatay has received a Golden Butterfly Award, two Turkish Youth Awards, a Golden Lens Award and other widespread recognition.
He has also been named to TCCandler’s 100 Most Handsome Faces (in the world) list for 4 years in a row.
Most recently, he received his first international award as the GQ Middle East TV Star of the Year 2019.
In addition, Cagatay has been nominated for best actor, both for TV and for the digital platform at many events.
Fun Video: Cagatay Speaking English At The GQ Awards
Before the pandemic, Cagatay used to split his time between Istanbul and Los Angeles, where he owns a home in Santa Monica. He spends his time in LA going through various professional development activities to hone his craft.
In 2019, Cagatay became a silent partner in a Los Angeles based bottled tea business called Teakina, along with friend Mali Simsek. Teakina wholesales organic iced tea that is sourced from Rize, in the Balck Sea region of Turkey. In January 2021, it was announced that Teakina, after successful distribution in USA, is expanding distribution into Europe.
Photo Source: https://www.facebook.com/teakina.icedtea
Cagatay has been in a long-term relationship with Duygu Sarisin, his co-star in Icerde. An intensely private man, Cagatay and his loved ones like to keep their personal life away from the spotlight.
Cagatay and good friend Kivanc Tatlitug often vacation together.