A look at Yelchin’s out-of-this-world career
By Cheryl Minns, Columnist
An accomplished 27-year-old actor with over 60 film and television credits, Anton Yelchin died suddenly in a freak car accident on June 19. Although his passing was tragic, he left behind a collection of films and TV shows that showcase his amazing talent.
Star Trek films (2009-2016)
Yelchin appeared in several iconic movie franchises, but is best known for his portrayal of Pavel Chekov in the Star Trek reboot. The third film in the franchise was filmed in Vancouver and is scheduled for release on July 22.
Like the character of Chekov, Yelchin was born to Russian parents in Leningrad, Russian SFSR, USSR (now St. Petersburg, Russia). However, despite his familiarity with the Russian language and accent, he chose not to use a real Russian accent in his performance because he felt it wouldn’t be true to the character from the 1960’s TV series.
“The interesting thing about it is that his accent is a Cold War stereotype of a Russian person,” Yelchin told TrekMovie.com. “It was fun to purposefully mess around with the Russian accent, to purposefully change what I thought a Russian accent was to suit that stereotype they had in the ’60s.”
Terminator: Salvation (2009)
Yelchin also appeared in the Terminator series, where he was introduced in the series’ fourth film. He played a teenage Kyle Reese, who would later go on to father John Connor, the head of the resistance against the machines. The role was initially much more significant until rewrites reworked the story and reduced Reese’s character.
When Terminator Salvation and the first Star Trek film came out in the spring of 2009, Yelchin admitted, “I have an aversion to remakes, which is ironic because I’m in two of them right now.”
Charlie Bartlett (2007)
This coming-of-age comedy featured Yelchin as a spoiled, preppy high schooler who attends public school for the first time after being kicked out of another private school. He soon becomes the students’ personal psychiatrist, prescriptions and all. Yelchin starred alongside two Marvel actors in this film— Iron Man’s Robert Downey Jr. and Thor’s Kat Dennings—before either of them entered the superhero universe.
Taken (2002 mini-series)
One of Yelchin’s earlier works was the Sci-Fi Channel (now SyFy) mini-series Taken (2002), which was filmed in Vancouver. The series aired on CBC for Canadian viewers. Taken followed three families who were affected by alien visits from 1944 to 2002. Yelchin played Jacob Clarke, a human-alien hybrid, in the 1950s and 1960s episodes. His performance in the series was nominated for a Young Artist Award in 2003. This followed his 2002 win of the Young Artist Award for his performance in Hearts in Atlantis (2001).
Although Yelchin is gone, he still has four more films to be released in 2016–17. The family drama We Don’t Belong Here is about a mother who hits her breaking point after her son (Yelchin) disappears. Porto is a romance about a life-changing night for a French woman and an American man (Yelchin) in Porto, Portugal. The psychological thriller Thoroughbred follows two suburban teenage girls who try to rekindle their volatile friendship. Rememory, a sci-fi mystery filmed in Vancouver, follows a widow who uses her late husband’s invention that can record and play the memories of a person.