Anton Yelchin "Crazy" about improv movie

Sun Jan 23, 2011 9:19pm EST
 
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By Daniel Miller

PARK CITY, Utah (Hollywood Reporter) - Twenty-one-year-old actor Anton Yelchin has deftly navigated the independent and studio worlds, though he says it's been more of a happy accident than a strategic decision to move back and forth between films such as 2009's "Star Trek" and "Terminator Salvation" and this year's "Like Crazy."

That film, from "Douchebag" director Drake Doremus, is the story of a long-distance romance, and stars Yelchin and Felicity Jones as young lovers whose relationship is put to the test. "Like Crazy," a U.S. dramatic competition entry, premiered Saturday at Sundance, and was snapped up for $4 million by Paramount early the next day.

HOW CONSCIOUS OF A CHOICE HAS IT BEEN TO TAKE ON BOTH MAINSTREAM AND INDIE ROLES?

Yelchin: I think it just sort of happens that way. I think my job is such that you can find joy and explore different universes. I loved playing Chekov (in "Star Trek"). I loved working on "Terminator." And then I had an amazing experience on "Like Crazy," too. Both types of films afford you the opportunity to experience these different lives -- completely different lives in completely different places. And for me, the characters are important and what you can find in them, what you can bring to them, and what you can do with them. That's usually what guides how I assess projects, aside from obviously the filmmakers, the other actors and the script. I think that's why I don't think, "Oh, this is a little indie. I'll do that." I feel lucky to be in whatever I'm in. I feel lucky to be working.

HOW DID "LIKE CRAZY" COME TO YOUR ATTENTION?

Yelchin: I've known ("Like Crazy" producer) Jonathan Schwartz for a couple of years, and I remember when he was doing "Douchebag." I feel really lucky, because he was talking to me about Drake's next movie ("Like Crazy"), and I sat down with Drake, and he gave me the breakdown. It's all improvised, so there's a 50-page breakdown. And I read that the same day, and the same day, I called him and said, "I really want to do this." It's really beautiful and touching. You just had a breakdown, but it was so heartfelt and so moving that I immediately wanted to do it. And the prospect of doing an improvised film is just kind of magical.

HAD YOU DONE SOMETHING LIKE THAT BEFORE?

Yelchin: The closest thing I'd done before was when I was 13, I did an episode of "Curb Your Enthusiasm," but that's pretty much it. And this is totally different because it's a drama, and it's a very, very intense relationship drama, so I jumped at the chance to do that.   Continued...