This past weekend we lost actor Anton Yelchin after a freak accident involving the actors car at his Los Angels home. I don’t want to go into too much detail on the actors death, but rather his amazing and short lived acting career.
The first film I ever saw Anton in was Alpha Dogs. A 2006 film starring Justin Timberlake, Bruce Willis and Emile Hirsch. A lot of star power was behind this film, as well as starting Justin’s break away film career. A lot of eyes were on this one and Yelchin was “the missing boy”. Audiences did not realize it just yet, but they were going to fall in love with this kid.
Anton moved onto a few more television rolls before landing the gig that would change his life and put him in the eyes of millions. The pivotal roll that made Walter Koenig famous. Pavel Chekov in JJ Abrams Star Trek! We all were a little weary of this retelling in the Star Trek universe. Especially after seeing the original cast recast. The film went on to be a hit grossing nearly $257,730,019! Anton could not work another day in his life and live off the convention scene. That had to have been a good feeling at his age.
The thing with Anton is that he loved acting and he loved movies! JJ said it best that Anton was an actor second and a fan first. Apparently in the Los Angels scene, he would chat up reviewers and ask their opinions on films. That is a beautiful thing that does not happen very often with us. Actors engaging with the press on a friendly basis. With his passing, it showed all over my Twitter feed with the out pour of love that press and fans alike had for him.
He then went on to reprise Kyle Reese in Terminator Salvation and voiced a Smurf. Again, like or hate the projects, this kid was in it!
Anton then dipped his toes into the horror scene reprising the roll of Charley Brewster in one of my personal favorites Fright Night. Horror fans were just as skeptical of this one as Star Trek fans were of their series. To some Fright Night wasn’t the best remake, but you cannot say it was not entertaining. It created its own look a feel to the series. Anton brought a lot to Brewster, something we hadn’t seen in a while. Real teen emotion with flavor! Later he went on to play Odd in Stephen Sommors adaptation of the popular Odd Thomas series based on novels by Dean Koontz. This could have been another life changing roll for Anton if the film wasn’t directed by Sommors and actually made it to theaters!
In the end, this didn’t matter because Anton was Chekov in the next two Star Trek films, Into Darkness and Beyond.
I saw a lot of Anton’s real acting chops in a fun little film called Burying the Ex. Anton played a horror fan who ran a horror novelty shop. It wasn’t the best film ever, but his roll spoke to me and he played it genuinely. The roll non-science fiction fans will probably remember Anton from the most is a film that came out earlier this year entitled Green Room. One where Patrick Stewart tries to take back the Star Trek series from the new generation! (haha, if only, right?) No, it was about a band trapped in a green room by a bunch of Neo-Natzies led by Stewart. Apparently Anton brought a lot to this film and I cannot wait to see it!
There are a few other films that are in the can that he worked on we’ll see soon, which is exciting. But this kid already accomplished in Hollywood what so many strive for all their lives! I have no doubt in my mind that if this horrible tragedy did not occur, this kid would have been sitting where Jack Nicholson sits at the Academy Awards a decade or two from now. All we can really do is enjoy the films Anton has left for us. That in itself is a gift.
Live long and prosper.