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« The Furniture: Orlando's Otherworldly Pageantry | Main | Things that happened on Nicole Kidman's Birthday over the years »
Monday
Jun202016

Anton Yelchin (1989-2016)

This calendar year has been filled to the brim with unthinkables. The latest terribly sad happening: The talented Russian-American actor Anton Yelchin died yesterday in a freak accident at only 27 years of age. He was crushed by his own car on its steep driveway incline.

Yelchin was best known to general audiences as Chekov in the modern Star Trek franchise but to us he'll always be Byrd Huffstodt (the sensitive brainy teen in the underappreciated cable drama Huff) or awestruck poseur Ian (from the hipster vampire greatness that was Only Lovers Left Alive), and especially Jacob from the college romance drama Like Crazy (2011). Though Like Crazy was mostly heralded at the time for Felicity Jones's work as his British girlfriend, it was Yelchin that gave the movie its lovestruck foolish soul... but nuanced emotionally astute work by male actors, especially young ones, in romantic dramas are rarely given their just critical props. Even when miscast (when Hollywood thinks you're the next big thing they'll put you in anything, even if it's an obviously uncomfortable fit) as in Fright Night or Terminator Salvation, Yelchin was always, at the very least, watchable. 

A tiny gift of remembrance to fans which in no way makes up for this truly absurd loss: Yelchin worked so steadily as an actor that we will still see a handful of new performances released posthumously. The forthcoming films are: Star Trek Beyond (due July 22nd), Rememory (with Peter Dinklage), the family drama We Don't Belong Here (with Catherine Keener as his dysfunctional mother), the international romantic drama Porto (with French actress Lucie Lucas - Yelchin was fluent in multiple languages and it seems likely he would have pursued more international films later in life if Hollywood offers ever got too repetitive or unchallenging), and the thriller Thoroughbred (with Anya Taylor-Joy from The Witch).

He will be missed. Do you have a favorite Anton Yelchin memory at the movies or on TV? 

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Reader Comments (19)

I was familiar with his face prior to Star Trek without having an interest in him. He was adorable and talented. And it's cruel we'll never see how he'd mature as an actor. It freaks me out whenever news of an 80's baby dies. I was just released from another stint in the hospital for medical reasons. Thoughts and prayers are with his family.

June 20, 2016 | Unregistered Commenter/3rtful

A terrible accident, so very sad. So much promise and he was such a perfect fit for Chekov.

This year has just been unbelievably brutal with the loss of familiar faces. Just within the last week, Ann Morgan Guilbert, Ron Lester, the great voice artist Janet Waldo and now Anton to say nothing of the losses since January 1st.

June 20, 2016 | Unregistered Commenterjoel6

Such a talented young man. So sad to see him go so early.

June 20, 2016 | Unregistered Commentersfenton24

I still remembered him as the best thing in "Like Crazy" (sorry Jones). Just like what Nat said, I was pleasantly surprised by his sensitive portrayal of Jacob. It seems authentic but never melodramatic. And that last scene is devastating. You can tell he's doing it not for the spotlight. His talent and charm will be missed.

June 20, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterLars

Great post. I'm afraid a lot of general, non-movie folk will have no clue who he is, which is unfortunate for them. He really moved me in Like Crazy; that movie had me ugly crying from start to finish.

I completely forgot he was in Only Lovers Left Alive!!!! Such a great movie.

June 20, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterCourtney

This is absolutely awful. It's tragic when anyone passes away, but doubly so when they're so young.

June 20, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterMDA

I, too, found him a sensitive actor and not a teenage wonder who lasts a minute.

Such a freak accident ... my thoughts go out to his family and friends.

I loved him in Alpha Male.

June 20, 2016 | Unregistered Commenterrick

Oddly enough, whenever his name comes up I think most about his guest-starring stint on a two-part episode of Law and Order: Criminal Intent from a decade back. He had such a wide-eyed earnestness that I found really endearing.

June 20, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterTroy H.

The first time I saw him was in Hearts in Atlantis (I was 13 when I saw that) and while the movie is not great, I was really impressed by this sensitive young actor playing a version of an 11-year-old boy that we don't see often in movies, entirely sensitive, playful, but very in-tune with the pains of growing up. I was also impressed with hsi guest role in Without a Trace (which is the first thing I saw him in after his voice had reached puberty). So, this one really stung (he was only a year younger than me, so he was one of those actors I was watching grow alongside me, even though I never met him). He had so much left to give, it's a shame we won't see it. May he Rest in Peace...

June 20, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterRichter Scale

Most recent film I saw him in was 5 to 7, co-starring Frank Langella and Glenn Close. It was eligible for Oscar consideration last year.

June 20, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterPatryk

I only know him from "Huff," which he was brilliant in throughout its too-short run. (Surprised no word from Hank Azaria and cast mates, etc.). I didn't bother with the "Star Trek" reboots, but I heard good things about "Green Room" and "Like Crazy" (not so much about "Fright Night"). This is one of the most horrific demises I've heard of for a celebrity, and it breaks my heart that it happened to someone this young and talented. RIP.

June 20, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterLenny

RIP Anton. Charlie Bartlett was on repeat for several weeks here at my house; kids loved him in that role.

June 20, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterPam

I loved Huff. I immediately checked Hank Azaria and Paget Brewsters' Twitter feeds yesterday. So sad.

June 20, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterHayden W.

I was a big fan of his. Loved him in Charlie Bartlett and actually I quite liked him in Fright Night - he was just relatable and likable and there was always a certain freshness to his work even though he sometimes seemed a bit older than he was. I expect I'll even be watching that Broken Bells video he's in a fair bit in the next few days.

June 20, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterScottC

I first noticed him as the sensitive otherworldly teen in Spielberg's Taken miniseries -- I believe his character ended up being grandfather to Dakota Fanning's despite the actors' similar ages. It was a pleasure watching him mature on screen -- even when I hated a movie, he was doing good things in it.

June 20, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterJames from Ames

I have not seen him in many films but thought he had a gentle and compelling screen presence. He radiated "good soul" vibes.

The way he died sounds horrific.

June 20, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterJoe

I first saw him in this short for Interview Magazine in 2012: https://vimeo.com/53870327 It's an eerie watch now after Anton's passing and Amber's recent troubles. I feel terribly sad for both of them.

June 20, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterEz

I was incredibly saddened by his death. He just seemed like one of the good ones and goddamn so young.

My favorite performance of his and film is Charlie Bartlett. And while I hated Like Crazy with a passion, I saw the film solely because of him. It will be very bittersweet watching Star Trek.

June 21, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterRyan T.

I have to say, "Odd Thomas" was a film that convinced me Yelchin was going to be huge. Despite all the film's flaws. Yelchin was a superb Chehov, and a great talent. And I don't say this just because he has been taken away so soon. RIP.

June 21, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterJesus Alonso

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