Rising star Anton Yelchin has Hollywood buzzing
Actor-director Ralph Fiennes, speaks at a press conference promoting his new film 'Coriolanus' at the Toronto International Film Festival in Toronto, on Monday, Sept. 12, 2011. (Aaron Vincent Elkaim / THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Josh Visser, CTVNews.ca Staff
Published Wednesday, September 14, 2011 7:15AM EDT
At age 22, actor Anton Yelchin is having a breakthrough year in Hollywood and he knows it. But he doesn't seem bothered by the prospect of messing up what could be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to crack into the A-list.
"It's a gift to have the luxury of choosing (my roles). A lot of people don't have that luxury, saying, ‘What am I going to do? I just need work.' I'm not in that position," he said while doing a round of interviews in Toronto for his latest film "Like Crazy."
"I don't feel any pressure. The only pressure I feel is to be true to what I find interesting in characters."
While best known as Chekov in the 2009 "Star Trek" reboot, Yelchin has become a go-to actor for directors looking for intelligence and intensity in a youthful face. Recently starring in the well-received "Fright Night" reboot, he also appeared in the last "Terminator" film and had the title role in 2007's "Charlie Bartlett."
But it is his performance in his latest film that has some thinking he could be Hollywood's Next Big Thing -- the young actor that can shoot the blockbuster action film but also make the small film that brings accolades and awards.
"Like Crazy," a low-budget drama that took the Sundance Film Festival by storm earlier this year, winning the Grand Jury Prize, is playing at the Toronto International Film Festival before its release later this year.
"Like Crazy" is about a young couple, one American, one British, who find themselves helplessly in love, but under circumstances that put literal and metaphorical distance between them.
Yelchin, along with co-lead Felicity Jones, are riveting to watch as their relationship subtly unravels over the years. It's even more remarkable considering much of the film was improvised, as writer-director Drake Doremus shot it in 30-minute takes, with his leads only having an outline of where the scene should go.
Dressed in a black suit, white shirt collar open with a lazy tie hanging loose, Yelchin looks his age as he sits down with reporters in a Toronto hotel. His facial hair is that of a 22-year-old, patchy and thin, like a young NHL player's playoff beard.
But he takes his job seriously, so much that you would assume he would call it a "craft" or an "art."
"It's a surreal, magical thing where you literally forget you have a life outside (of the movie)," Yelchin said of shooting "Like Crazy."
"You just become that person. And this film became very personal. You always have to know your character better than you know yourself."
Born in Russia in 1989 when it was still the Soviet Union, Yelchin moved to the United States six months later, and started acting by the age of 11.
After "Like Crazy," he will next be seen in an adaption of Dean Koontz's bestselling novel "Odd Thomas" and in the unnamed "Star Trek" sequel.