I know I haven’t been posting consistently lately and the topic of this post breaks my heart. I hate that I’m writing it, but it’s something I felt compelled to do after I heard the tragic news today.
Anton Yelchin isn’t exactly a household name. He probably could have been eventually, had he not been tragically killed in a freak car accident today.
If you’re a movie person, you’ve probably seen this fine young actor pop up in one fabulous film or another sometime in the last 15 years. His most high profile role has been in the new Star Trek movies, in which he played Chekov.
My first exposure to Anton was in about 2006 when I rented the film Hearts in Atlantis. I rented this movie because it featured one of my favorite actresses at the time — Hope Davis, who played Anton’s mom. I ended up just being floored by his performance. He was, after all, a child of 11 or 12 who held his own next to Anthony Hopkins.
After that, I decided to watch more of his films and found myself renting Delivering Milo and House of D (which, ugh, stars Anton and Robin Williams — that movie would be so depressing to watch now).
The film Fierce People was one of my first exposures to Kristen Stewart — pre-Twilight when it wasn’t uncool to like Kristen Stewart — and I remember thinking that those two were both going places. I wasn’t wrong, but it’s just amazing how different the future can be from what you imagine.
That’s about the time that Alpha Dog came out. Now, Alpha Dog didn’t get the best reviews and honestly wasn’t all that well structured, but the acting really made that movie worth watching. Again Anton stood out in a cast of superb actors like Ben Foster, Justin Timberlake, and Emile Hirsch.
Because I was a fan of Anton, I tried to watch as much as I could that he was in. I watched the excellent, Steven Spielberg-produced Taken series because of him. I watched Charlie Bartlett and Like Crazy.
Seeing him get the Star Trek role actually made me proud for some crazy reason — just simply because I’d been following his career so long. I knew he was talented and I was glad mainstream audiences were picking up on that.
I feel like I’m making this whole post about myself, which is totally not what I set out to do. It’s just honestly so heartbreaking to see someone so young and so talented meet such a tragic end. I could see a future where Anton would be an actor as respected as, say, Matt Damon. Or at least the independent film star equivalent of that. There are very few actors who are under 30 and have so many amazing performances to their name.
It’s weird because I never met this guy, but I feel like I have grown up with him. I was young when I first noticed him and his roles matured as I matured. It really just reminds you that life is so incredibly finite. Nothing and no one lasts forever. It can all end in the snap of a finger.
I guess that’s all I have to say. I am just devastated and reflective and hopeful that this is the last celebrity death of the year because 2016 has not been kind at all.