Last night it was announced, much to the world’s shock, that 27 year old actor Anton Yelchin had unexpectedly died in a fatal car collision. The actor was best known for his turn as Pavel Chekov in the recent reboot of Star Trek, for which he was well loved by the fans. However, Star Trek was not his only role, and Yelchin, although his career was unfairly cut short, had the opportunity to star in a variety of interesting films. Many professionals in the industry, such as Tom Hiddleston, Guillermo del Toro, J.J. Abrams and more have shared their grief with the world; reminiscing about Anton Yelchin’s funny, courageous and sweet-hearted nature. The Edge pays tribute to him by exploring some of the roles he played, and the ways in which this promising young actor shone in them.
House of D (2004)
Even though I only knew who Anton Yelchin was from his performance in David Duchovny’s House of D in 2004; Yelchin left a lasting impression on my mind. Portraying the younger version of Duchovny’s character Tom Warshaw, the 15-year-old Yelchin carried the movie on his shoulders with such prowess and experience, with only six films under his belt before the role.
Yelchin managed to twine the emotional spectrum into one with such ease, and left a massive impression on me in regards to how well young actors can pour their young hearts and souls into a movie. House of D may not have gotten the reviews it deserved, but it serves as a magnificent time capsule to the immensely talented, 15-year-old Yelchin and a basis as to how much he had improved since that performance.
words by Sophie McEvoy
Charlie Bartlett (2007)
Yelchin gave a breakthrough performance as the charming titular character of Jon Poll’s 2007 comedy-drama, Charlie Bartlett. The film follows Bartlett as he tries increase his popularity at his new high school by dispensing therapeutic advice and prescription drugs to fellow students. Yelchin was still a teenager when he took on the role, but was nevertheless “extraordinarily prepared and hardworking” according to the director. Even though the film didn’t do too well at the Box Office, Yelchin’s lead performance was incredibly promising; containing a charisma and intellectual charm reminiscent of Ferris Bueller and other cinematic teen icons.
words by Anneka Honeyball
Star Trek (2009)
Most who today mourn the tragic death of Anton Yelchin know him from his role as Pavel Andreievich Chekov, the Russian navigator who helped helm the USS Enterprise in the 2009 Star Trek film and its sequels. Though opinion on the series reboots will always be divided, there was no question as to Yelchin’s suitability to the role. Originally held by Walter Koenig in the 60s through 90s, the actor was initially introduced to appeal to younger, teenage audiences and bring a fresh perspective to the bridge. And Yelchin revived what he did, and did it in spades. From racing through the bowels of the ship to boldly announcing over her tannoy in (frankly adorable) Russian-accented broken English, he in many ways brought to the role a snapshot of what Star Trek, at it’s very core, was about. Not innocence, so much, as integrity, and hope, and a pipedream that one day anyone could be anything and that we will all live in harmony. That’s not such a bad thing to aspire to, at the end of the day. Yelchin’s final work, Star Trek Beyond, will be released in July. While I and many other fans are still unprepared for the ‘In Memory Of Leonard Nimoy’ dedication anticipated to close it, I believe Yelchin’s may be just as affecting. Oh keptin, my keptin!
words by Camilla Cassidy
Like Crazy (2011)
One of his more recent films, Like Crazy allowed Yelchin to enter romantic drama territory, playing an American student who soon falls in love with a British exchange student (Felicity Jones), only to be separated from her when she is denied re-entry into the United States. Yelchin was director Drake Doremus’ first choice to play Jacob. Though the film itself received mixed reviews, Yelchin’s performance – and the chemistry he shared with Jones’ character – was given particular praise, with one reviewer heralding the “indelible and entirely realistic chemistry” between the two actors.
words by Anneka Honeyball
Fright Night (2011)
2011’s Fright Night – a remake of Tom Holland’s 1985 cult classic – might not have been strictly necessary; but, benefiting from a cast including a leather and goatee wearing David Tennant- it was sexy, stylish, and delightfully gory to boot. While lacking in leather, Anton Yelchin’s main character of Charley Brewster definitely boasted his screen presence. A high school senior with a cute mop of hair and a cuter girlfriend, Charley’s life seems fine – until new neighbour Jerry moves in next door, and Charley discovers him to be a vampire. At about the same time as local people start going missing. Well, isn’t that a coincidence.
Any actor in the role could have coasted through with a pretty enough face and the, well, the sort of acting normally reserved for horror remakes. But Yelchin well and truly played the part. He showed excellent comedic timing that allowed the film to swing from suitably scary to laugh-worthy funny, and both allowed his character to play to type while growing; being dynamic and real enough to be truly likeable. It’s a role noteworthy because it’s great – and in the hands of someone with less talent, promise, and so much more left to show the world, it truly might not have been. Yelchin later continued to hone his horror and thriller skills, and was also set to provide voice acting for Guillermo del Toro’s upcoming Netflix original series Trollhunters.
words by Camilla Cassidy
Odd Thomas (2013)
Anton Yelchin was a fantastic talent; his raw energy provided the backbone for many films, including Odd Thomas (2013).
He grasped the eccentric protagonist of Odd Thomas perfectly, a small but brilliantly formed ode to all things kooky and supernatural. He and co-star Addison Timlin had an almost choreographed relationship on screen; two people completely in sync, Odd and Stormie were best friends turned lovers, as their future had been foretold. Although it admittedly ended in heartbreak, the eccentricities and humour of the film fizzled away in their final scene, revealing the substance beneath the comic book hero façade. He played it perfectly, the man who knew more and could see more than everyone else throughout the film, suddenly becoming blinded by his tragedy and loss.
It was a promising performance and he commanded the audience like a pro; an early lead role that told tales of an even brighter future.
I also just watched Rudderless (2014): A fantastic little movie with lots of heart (provided by Yelchin and Billy Crudup in a beautiful father/son relationship), I would definitely recommend.
words by Tash Williamson
Only Lovers Left Alive (2014)
For much of his career, Yelchin shone in supporting roles and in Jim Jarmusch’s 2014 independent vampire flick, Only Lovers Left Alive, the actor provided some quirky comic relief amongst the film’s macabre themes. Yelchin starred as Ian, a naive human “rock and roll” kid who procures vintage instruments and ornaments for Tom Hiddleston’s reclusive vampire, Adam. Though Yelchin only makes a fleeting appearance in the film, his interactions with Hiddleston are among some of the film’s quirkiest highlights.
words by Anneka Honeyball
As the world mourns the loss of truly talented and deeply charming actor; we look to his roles, and revel in the fact that they are captured on screen for us to treasure his talent in the years to come. Anton Yelchin had so much more left to give as an actor; but it does not do to dwell on the what ifs, when we are already provided with so many incredible, honest performances.