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R.I.P. The Talented And Soulful Anton Yelchin

By Petr Navovy | Miscellaneous | June 20, 2016 |

By Petr Navovy | Miscellaneous | June 20, 2016 |

Anton Yelchin, one of the most promising and underappreciated young actors working today has died, crushed by his own car in a freak accident at his L.A. home on Sunday 19th June 2016, shortly after 01:00 PT. He was 27.

According to the BBC, his car struck him after ‘rolling backwards down the steep drive at his Studio City home, pinning him against a brick postbox pillar and a security fence.’

Yelchin, an only child born to professional figure skaters in Soviet Russia (in Leningrad, now St Petersburg) and raised in Los Angeles, was known to many for his humorous and subtly layered portrayal of the otherwise quite broadly written Chekov in JJ Abrams’ rebooted Star Trek movies, but the totality of his gifts to the industry stretched far wider than that.

He was a talented, soulful, and hard-working actor whose name had become a wonderful sight to see adorning a movie poster — bringing to each and every project as he did a wonderful verve, as well as an un-learnable and rare element that can only be described as humanity. Because this was arguably what Yelchin’s greatest gift to cinema: he made you like his characters. Within minutes of their appearance on screen you felt like you knew them, that you cared for them, which is a feat that some in his profession work their entire lives trying to achieve, without ever coming close to doing so.

Anton Yelchin made it look effortless.

He worked modestly and without the need for fanfare. He was the kind of actor that the industry needs. Everything from the humour of aforementioned Star Trek reboot series; to flexing his romcom muscles in Like Crazy; to a fantastic supporting turn in Jim Jarmusch’s dark and velvety Only Lovers Left Alive — where he managed to make an indelible impression on the audience in a movie otherwise starring Tilda Swinton, Tom Hiddleston, and John Hurt as eternal vampires — each one of Yelchin’s roles succeeded in showing more sides of a sensitive and responsive performer who seemed to love his work with every fibre of his being.

His tragic death at 27 hits me particularly hard as only a few weeks ago I had sat, enraptured and nailed to my seat in a screening of one of his last movies, Jeremy Saulnier’s ‘punks vs. Neo-Nazis’ horror-thriller, Green Room — an absolutely terrifying and stunning movie full of images that sear itself into your retina and pervade your unconscious. And yet, somehow, in this crowded field of terror and beauty, Anton Yelchin still managed to stand out. Not by subjugating the picture, but by doing precisely what he needed to to elevate it — by making you believe that the person you were watching on screen was fully and totally human.

May he rest in peace.

His friends and colleagues expressed their grief on social media:

Here is the trailer for Green Room, which if you haven’t yet seen, you must:


Petr Knava lives in London and plays music