So how did you go from a street kid to a successful businessman?
Trial and error! When you’re broke and hungry you get angry, and that anger drove me to win at all costs. I’ve been a pizza delivery boy, a cleaner, and a warehouse worker. I even joined the TA for a while. After that, I started trying out any business I could think of and afford. One of my early ones went bankrupt, and the aftermath was a very long story we don’t even have time for.
Wow. Ok, well, I won’t ask you to go into more detail there! You have your fingers in a number of pies now. What industries are you involved in?
I’m in real estate, motorsports, defence and now film.
Yes, and your first film was Turkish. What is your connection to Turkey?
When I was living in Latin America, I noticed that Turkish TV was very popular, though I didn’t understand the language so I didn’t watch it myself. Then a couple of years ago I was lying in my hotel room in Tokyo watching a film shot in Istanbul, and it was the night before I was due to fly to Madrid with a connecting flight in Istanbul. The city looked amazing, and I really wanted to spend some time there, so when my flight landed there, I just didn’t get on my connecting flight. I spent three days wandering around the city, and I loved it.
Ok, so how did you end up acting in a Turkish film?
I actually joined the first project as an investor. I never considered film before and it seemed like an interesting opportunity. Before filming they needed an English actor, so I decided to give it a try. I mean, how hard can it be, right? Turns out it wasn’t a bad way to start because new doors have opened since then.
So how hard was it? What were your experiences as a first-time actor?
It was tougher than I had expected in some ways. It’s a lot of hard work. As an inexperienced actor, I had to take acting lessons, but I worked with an good coach. My translator was quite a character too, and I was pretty much the only English speaker on set, but we had great fun.
You’re also an associate producer for the movie. Is the film industry easier than your more corporate experiences?
No, harder actually. The film world is colourful but stressful. There are endless challenges both behind and in front of the camera. Then again, I’ve only done it once so far so lets see how I feel after a few more.
So is that it for you? Or are you keen on more?
Oh, no, I’m staying in this. I have a few things in the pipeline.
Can you tell us about them?
Well, I plan to make a dark comedy in Turkey, but that’s on hold for now because I’m going to be involved in an Indian/European production this year. And I’d love to make a documentary in Turkey as well.