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Atatürk film to be made in 2009 14 janvier 2008

Posted by Acturca in Art-Culture, History / Histoire, Turkey / Turquie.
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The Turkish Daily News, 14 January 2008

Reeta Çevik, London

Fuad Kavur, a London-based Turkish film producer, expects to start filming the life of Atatürk in 2009. Kavur believes that the time is right to remind both Europeans and Turks about the greatness of Atatürk’s achievements.

Fuad Kavur, a London-based Turkish film producer, is working on a major film project based on the life of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk.

Kavur is courting Daniel Craig to play the title role in the $75 million film, with principal filming expected to begin in 2009.

Main theme: Atatürk’s reforms

Kavur said the main theme of his screenplay is Atatürk’s determination to make Turkey a secular country and to keep millions of people united by emphasizing national sovereignty and modern education. “Atatürk chose the challenging route: To separate religion from temporal government, to educate the people and to make them realize that they are responsible for their own actions,” said Kavur.Kavur is a Turkish producer who has been residing in London since 1963. “I was sent here, when my uncle Kemal Kavur was our ambassador, to learn English at a summer school. Obviously, something went wrong, because I am still here,” said Kavur. What went wrong was that, instead of returning to Istanbul, Kavur went on to finish his secondary schooling at the French Lycée in South Kensington. Then, he studied International Law at University College, London. “It was, I suppose, expected of me that I should end up joining the Turkish Foreign Office.” That would have been a natural career for him, given that Kavur comes from a family of diplomats. His two uncles served, respectively, as ambassadors to Helsinki, Sofia, Moscow, Tokyo, London, Bern, and to Belgrade, Dakar, Stockholm and Lisbon.Instead, Kavur went into the arts. Among his credits as a film producer is “Memed My Hawk” (1984) starring Sir Peter Ustinov, based on the Turkish classic by Yasar Kemal. “It is a curious turn of fate,” said Kavur. “I had two uncles who were ambassadors; and, naturally, both wanted that the family tradition be passed on to the next generation. Instead, both my cousin and I went into films.” Kavur’s cousin was the late Turkish film director, Ömer Kavur.

Excellent time for Atatürk film

When the idea of making a film about Atatürk came up some 17 years ago Kavur was unsure about its practicality. Nevertheless, he now feels that the time is right to make the Atatürk film. There are two reasons for this. First is the Turkish application to join the European Union. In Kavur’s view, it is important for Europeans to learn about Atatürk and his social reforms starting as early as 1923. Secondly, Kavur said “it is important to remind people in Turkey of the super-human effort which Atatürk went through to make us the gift of a modern society.”

Kavur’s screenplay focuses on women’s liberation in Turkey as well. “This was a subject, which was very close to Atatürk’s heart,” Kavur said. “Atatürk saw that no society can evolve without giving women equal status in every aspect of life: Economic, political and social. Freedom is not a gift reserved only for the male population of any country.”

Career in music

Kavur’s first love was music. Even at university, he was directing opera. When an opera he staged received great reviews in the daily London papers, Kavur decided to drop the idea of joining the Turkish Foreign Office. Kavur then worked as an assistant director at the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden, at the English National Opera, and then exclusively with Sir Peter Ustinov at the Scala and at the Berlin, Hamburg, Edinburgh and Paris opera houses. Kavur also staged Wagner’s complete Ring Cycle at the Seattle Opera. Surrounded by books on movies and art, at his apartment in London’s fashionable Belgravia neighborhood, Kavur said: “Who knows? Maybe, with the Atatürk film, my time has finally come to achieve greatness.” Then, he added, “only kidding.”


1. Tony - 25 novembre 2010

Really hope this gets made. A totally worthwhile and much overdue project. I too see Ralph Fiennes on the role.

2. Andrew - 22 janvier 2010

Are there any updates on the film? Is this still going to happen…I’m an American who has visited Turkey a few times and fallen in love with the country. I would love for the world to learn what he did for Turkey.

3. Phil Shaw - 14 décembre 2009

Mr Kavur, do you have a casting director for Ataturk?
I’m very interested and would like to send you my biog.
I most recently worked with veteran director Raoul Ruiz on the
movie ‘Love and Virtue’ (Damian Lewis, Vincent Perez, Saffron Burrows, John Malkovich and Peter O’Toole)
Phil Shaw

4. Teresa Ott - 17 mai 2009

Mr. Kavur, the very best of luck with this brilliant project. We met in London a few years ago. Teresa Ott here. The outdoor cafe, Boisdale,
F. Scott Fitzgerald novel, etc.. I hope you are well and happy. Teresa
Contact me if you like.

5. Gulten - 23 mars 2009

Antonio Banderas was to play Ataturk years ago but due to threats he received by some troubled people (mainly Greek-Americans) he later refused. It was to be produced by Tarquin Olivier, the son of the late Laurence Olivier who admired Ataturk.

 »He has been very enthusiastic, but obviously he was very put off by these letters, » Mr. Olivier said in an interview in New York, where he stopped on his way to Hollywood.  »Our contacts with people in the Greek community here tell us that this campaign only involves a small number of people. It’s motivated by a feeling of hatred not only toward Ataturk but toward Turkey in general. I’m very much hoping that we can make him see this, and that we don’t get into a situation which undermines freedom of speech and freedom of the arts. »

The campaign was not universally welcomed by Greek-Americans. An editorial in an edition of The Greek American, a weekly newspaper published on Long Island, said it had caused many Greeks  »to cringe in embarrassment. »

6. Gulten - 22 mars 2009

I can’t wait. Millions of people revere this great man for what he did and how he changed the world. I’m so excited. Hopefully it will eventuate. And Ralph Fiennes would be a good choice Craig as I can see a resemblance 🙂

7. craig - 20 mars 2009

You are all mistaken.
Ralph Fiennes should play Ataturk, take a look at photos of them side by side, it is uncanny.

8. re - 29 janvier 2009

there is only one perfect choice for ATATURK casting… JUDE LAW… he would like to play ATATURK because that movie has the potential to be a classic… with a few make up to get older,JUDE LAW is exactly the one to play ATATURK… he is much more talented the daniel or kline…(enemy at the gates) when he comb his hair trough back he seems just like ATATURK with his mindset and eagle-eyes…
Anche MR.Kavur,I would like you if you contact me…

9. Hakan - 21 novembre 2008

yes Daniel Craig is the perfect choice. he really looks like Atuturk.

10. igor ustinov - 15 avril 2008

I think it is perfect momentum for this project and it will have a greate impact on the public understanding of the oriental culture
could Fuad Kavur contact me at my E-mail

11. eric vardar - 28 mars 2008

kevin kline in the film De-lovely, is the perfect imbodiment of Ataturk; this should be considered by Mr. Kavur.

12. michelle - 3 février 2008

I’ve always thought Viggo Mortenson would be a good casting choice for Ataturk but Daniel Craig will do a fine job too. Hope the script is good enough!


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