Julianne Moore is one of the world’s most acclaimed actresses, with a list of accolades that includes Emmys, Golden Globes, awards from the Cannes, Berlin, and Venice film festivals, and an Oscar for last year’s Still Alice. And still, she can’t act as though she likes Turkey for shit. According to Hurriyet Daily News, Turkey’s Culture and Tourism Ministry finally called Moore out on this flagrant inability to pretend to enjoy its nation, rejecting a promotional film Moore made for Turkish tourism due to her “poor acting.” It was easily the most damning criticism of Moore since her Boston-accented turn on 30 Rock, long regarded as one of the greatest slights to Turkey in its history.
Turkey hired Moore last year to star in a film titled Home Of, in which she was to be seen on an airplane, reminiscing about a childhood trip she once took to Turkey. The project reportedly cost $4 million—presumably to build an airplane specifically for the shoot, as well as to develop a clone of Moore and raise it to childhood age, for the flashbacks.
But regardless of how that $4 million budget to film Moore talking on an airplane was spent, it was apparently all a huge waste. Officials who saw the finished product disapproved of her performance and demanded a reshoot. Moore probably declined, knowing deep down that she couldn’t act like she liked Turkey her way out of a paper bag. Do they even have paper bags in Turkey? Don’t ask Julianne Moore.
But even before Moore appeared in the ad, she was already a controversial choice. Numerous politicians criticized Moore’s “depressive persona” as being unsuitable for the film, which was intended to suggest that Turkey is a lighthearted, happy place, so long as you are not Kurdish, Jewish, a journalist, homosexual, or female. Others also criticized the choice of “using a woman’s body to promote the country,” as Moore egregiously insisted on having a body while she talked. One particularly dramatic parliament member blasted the idea of using a Hollywood star to shill for the country, likening it to being “as if it were the 19th century”—a dark time when the Crimean War saw their land bombarded by cannons loaded with famous actors.
At the time, Emre Yucel, a partner at the ad agency that hired her, said he’d chosen her in hopes of attracting wealthy U.S. and British tourists, and responded to these objections by exclaiming, “I can’t understand why she is not liked here.” Clearly, Yucel never saw her work in movies such as Short Cuts, Magnolia, The Big Lebowski, etc., where Moore’s every scene is overshadowed by the fact that she obviously knows nothing about Turkey.