The casting news is coming faster and faster these days…now from the Hollywood Reporter no less. According to trade paper, the up-and-coming (and Russian-born) Anton Yelchin is in negotiations to play Pavel Chekov for the new Star Trek film. THR also confirms that casting is under way (in New York and London) for "Kirk, Bones, Uhura, Sulu, Scotty, the film’s villain and the Federation captain." It is not entirely clear what they mean by ‘federation captain,’ it is possible they actually mean ‘fleet captain’ which would be Chris Pike. THR reports that Abrams is expected to sign bigger-name actors for the villain and the ‘federation captain.’ roles. Yelchin is only 18, but has been working steadily since 2000, most recently with a recurring role on the Showtime drama Huff. He is starring in two feature films opening in the fall of 2007 (Charlie Bartlett and Fierce People).
The recent leaked casting sheet did not include the character of Chekov, but that seemed to be because the character actually didn’t show up on the series until the second season. One would not necessarily expect Chekov to be in a ‘prequel,’ however even if he did show up that is not necessarily violating (or should I say ‘wiolating’) canon. The Enterprise had a crew of over 400, yet you only saw a handful in each episode. Plus Star Trek II established that Chekov was indeed on board the ship at least by the time of the first season episode "Space Seed."
Yelchin certainly is ready to play a ‘young Chekov,’ the actor is thirteen years younger than Walter Koenig was when he began his Trek career (although Chekov was supposed to be much than Koenig’s actual age). It is a good sign that Abrams is actually casting someone who was born in Russia, but Yelchin has lived in the US almost all his life and has no discernible accent. The young actor has an active fanbase and seems to be an up and comer. This fall he will be seen in two starring film roles. Yelchin is the title character in the comedy Charlie Bartlett coming out in October and a month later will be seen staring along with Donald Sutherland in Firece People (trailers below). Yelchin’s career trajectory and his being one of the first to be cast may be an indication that the Chekov role has some substance to it in the film. The casting of such a young popular actor may be part of the strategy to give the new Star Trek more youth appeal, something the franchise dearly needs. This of course was part of the rationale for the introduction of the Chekov character in the second season of the Original Series…so it is only fitting
This is the first casting story in the trades since comic con, but by no means the last. I do know that the team are in full time casting mode right now. Expect more and more stories (and rumors) to come in the next few weeks through September.
Original article: Hollywood Reporter
Trailer for Yelchin’s upcoming "Charlie Bartlett"
Trailer for "Fierce People"
The new Chekov ? and a certain famous friend
VOTE: Check your Chekov
What do you think of Yelchin as Chekov and Chekov even being in the film? vote in the latest poll…right column