Tribute: R.I.P. Anton Yelchin
It’s a strange moment hearing that a person so young has died. Although he was been working as an actor in in TV and film since 2000 it feels as though we were just getting to know Anton Yelchin after his part in the Star Trek reboot brought him to mainstream attention. Suddenly he’s gone due to a freak accident. It was reported this morning that Anton Yelchin was killed when his car rolled backwards in his driveway and pinned him to a brick pillar. It’s a terrible accident that could not have been anticipated.
Anton Yelchin was born in Russia in 1989 and brought to the United States with his parents as a refugee when only 6 months old. Being of Jewish heritage his family suffered religious and political persecution in spite of his parent’s celebrity as Olympic level figure skaters. Yelchin began acting at an early age, first appearing on television in 2000 in an episode of E.R. The very next year he starred opposite Sir Anthony Hopkins in the film Hearts in Atlantis, for which Yelchin won his first acting award.
From here Yelchin was a regular feature on our screens in a number of major films and television shows including Curb Your Enthusiasm, Taken, a major role on Huff, Alpha Dog and the titular role in Charlie Bartlett. In 2009 he took up the role of Pavel Chekov in J.J. Abrams reboot of Star Trek, a role previously played by Walter Koenig. After this role made him familiar to moviegoers everywhere Yelchin balanced his work with blockbusters and indie fare including Terminator: Salvation, The Smurfs, The Beaver, Only Lovers Left Alive and cult punk horror film Green Room, in which he starred with fellow Star Trek alum Patrick Stewart.
Following his tragic death we will continue to see the work of the prolific and hard working Yelchin. Star Trek Beyond, the second sequel to the 2009 hit, will be in cinemas next month. We will also see him in We Don’t Belong Here and hear him in Guillermo del Toro’s animated series Trollhunters.
While it’s the indie roles that allowed Yelchin to prove himself as a gifted actor we still think of him as Chekov. His odd mannerism and recreation of Koenig’s exaggerated accent made him an endearing part of the ensemble. He made himself distinct in a room as loud, colourful characters. It takes a special kind of person to make that work.
Rest in Peace.