'Bullets' star Sibel Kekilli: "Madina is unwilling to be broken"

Sibel Kekilli as Madina Taburova in Bullets.
Sibel Kekilli as Madina Taburova in Bullets. (Image credit: C4)

Sibel Kekilli is best known to international audiences for her role as Shae in the first four seasons of Game Of Thrones, where her character's duplicity proved to be her undoing when she died at the hands of Tyrion Lannister. 

In new Finnish series Bullets, coming soon to Walter Presents on All4, Sibel plays a character who is also not to be trusted: Madina Taburova, a former recruiter of suicide bombers who is presumed dead, before turning up unexpectedly in Finland.

Madina's sudden reappearance prompts the intelligence authorities to send undercover officer Mari Saari (Krista Kosonen) to find and befriend her, in the hope of finding out what has prompted her to resurface, and to determine whether she poses a threat. 

We caught up with Sibel who told us why she was excited to take on the role, how she fell in love with Georgia during filming, and how her Game Of Thrones reputation has followed her around...

Sibel Kekilli on why the character of Madina Taburova in Bullets appealed to her

"First of all, it’s still rare to have a woman character who is really strong and eclectic. And that is exactly what Madina is: a strong woman with a lot of horrifying things that happened to her life in the past but unwilling to be broken by any means. 

"I loved the complexity of the role where she constantly oscillates between being evil and good in all its shades. Because that is exactly what life consists of. There is not really black and white in this world, it’s a lot of grey in between, too."

"Of course, I am not entirely okay with all the decisions she made. But I do think that she either had no choice or she just believed in them because of certain circumstances she could not change herself."

"Lastly, the relationship to Mari, the Finnish cop, and the hope to see her daughter again really dragged me to that character."

Sibel Kekilli on whether Madina truly trusts Mari in Bullets

"Here in Europe, she is all alone by herself and Mari is the only person she is in touch with. I think even if this is the last thing she really wants, there has to be someone you trust somehow in order not to get completely crazy. Mari saved her life and helped her out with the flat and the most important thing: it is Mari who found her daughter. But still there is always suspicion towards Mari."

Sibel Kekilli on filming 'Bullets' in a variety of international locations

"We were shooting in Belgium, Finland and the Chechnyan parts in Georgia. I really fell in love with Georgia, I have to admit. The country and the people are just so beautiful. No doubt this is one of the best parts of my job. Being able to travel to countries that you maybe did not have on your list. 

"But, of course, this kind of travelling with a film crew is something different. It’s not like being on a tourist bus because you are shooting in sets that not only look real but they are very real. So for me it feels like I am getting part of the whole scenery…. Well, at least a bit."

Sibel Kekilli on getting recognised in strange places by 'Game Of Thrones' fans

"Not entirely strange but the funniest situation I had when entering the U.S. in LA at the airport. When the officer greets you with 'Oh, you betrayed Tyrion,' then you know that this show really had an impact."

Steven Perkins
Staff Writer for TV & Satellite Week, TV Times, What's On TV and whattowatch.com

Steven Perkins is a Staff Writer for TV & Satellite Week, TV Times, What's On TV and whattowatch.com, who has been writing about TV professionally since 2008. He was previously the TV Editor for Inside Soap before taking up his current role in 2020. He loves everything from gritty dramas to docusoaps about airports and thinks about the Eurovision Song Contest all year round.