Anton Yelchin is currently doing the rounds promoting his upcoming film Charlie Bartlett, but it seems all interviewers want to talk about is role as Pavel Chekov in JJ Abrams new Star Trek. Back when the young actor landed the role he admitted that he was not familiar with Star Trek or Chekov, but now he seems well versed and opines on both at length…even calling the character "the weirdest guy." See below for his thoughts on both and more.
Below are excerpts from interviews with Yelchin from IGN, CanMag and SuperHeroFlix.
On the scale of the new movie and Enterprise
We were shooting a scene yesterday and you really just realize how epic it is. That word is so overused but it really is pretty epic. You just sit there and you’re like, ‘God damn, I’m on the Enterprise.’ Would I ever have thought that I’d be on the Enterprise? No. It’s pretty great. It’s a pretty different experience though.
On Chekov and TOS
Chekov is the weirdest guy. Watching the old show really makes you realize just how strange, how incredible it was that they brought, first of all, a Russian character on right smack in the middle of the cold war. There’s one scene where they’re talking to Apollo or something, or the god that used to be Apollo in the old show. Apollo’s like, ‘I am Apollo!’ and Chekov is like, ‘And I am the czar of all Russias.’…I really think the old show for what it was is really a great, great show. I watch it and really enjoy it. It’s so perfectly cheesy and B, and absolutely unapologetic for it and I think that’s what works. They shot this thing where they walk up to a cave that looks like it’s made out of Styrofoam and Spock says, ‘Oh, this is definitely advanced technology.’ You’re like, ‘Yes, yes, that is advanced technology.’ But it’s really fun. It’s a fun show to watch.
On his accent:
I think it’s pretty good. I mean, it’s great. No, I mean it’s good. The thing is about Walter Koenig was his accent was interesting. I think I’m just going to leave it at interesting. And it was sort of like, all of us had to make the choice of what we wanted to take from the original one and what we sort of wanted to bring to it. And there are certain things that I took from him. Like, the fact that he replaced every "v" with a "w," which is weird. Like, I don’t really know where that decision came from. But regardless, that’s a decision that he made. And I thought it was important to bring that to the character. So it was sort of like, I talked to [director] J.J. [Abrams] a lot about what he wanted. And his thing was, like, we’re not making something that’s supposed to be the old Star Trek. He’s making his own movie, but there is a bit of, like, I think people want to see what they love. And so we’re all sort of trying to find things that will remind people of the old characters. And so that’s been interesting sort of picking up little things.
On differences playing Chekov and Charlie Bartlett + mentions Star Trek will have a ‘battlefield’
[Star Trek] is totally different than anything I have worked on. It is difficult in certain ways. I could sit and talk about Charlie Bartlett for hours. Because I spent hours getting to know this guy. I know the back of my hand worse than I know Charlie Bartlett. You sit and you have a character whose head you can dig deep, deep, deep into. Then you have Star Trek. There are only so many levels to Pavel Chekov. But then, there is a certain fun to that as well. I have had an opportunity to sit and watch the old series. I have been able to find what I’d like to pick up on. It is weird being on a set where a lot of the actors, myself included, have no idea what a turbine engine is. Or what it might do when it explodes. You are looking at a green screen that is supposed to be a battlefield. But nothing is going on. It is fun. It really puts you into the frame of mind that you are making a movie. I had this feeling that I was on a big film. It is the old classic idea of what a film set is supposed to be. I have never had that opportunity. It is fun. Is very different. It is interesting. I do really love digging deep. I love getting to know a person so well. I think that is the most important thing. You have to know everything. From the way they walk to the way they talk. To the way they dress. That is all an extension of who they are. It is weird when you get onto a set, and that isn’t the case. No one asked me what I thought the Star Trek uniform should look like. Everything was planned out. But I had to find things in that sort of environment. That is very interesting. It is just cool and epic to be on that set. It is a lot of fun.
By the way, if you missed it, Anton jumped into the conversation from the Bridge of the Enterprise here on TrekMovie.com. Asking a fan question on what his big ‘wow’ moment was he said:
For me, it was extraordinary to spend my last shooting day on the enterprise. it really struck me just how epic it all was…AND WILL BE.
Will we hear Chekov scream?
What we really want to know…will the movie keep the Chekov tradition of being the one to get the most abuse. Short of the red shirts (as the video below shows), Chekov seems to always be the one to take the brunt of things on Star Trek.
Charlie Bartlett, starring Anton Yelchin opens in the US on February 22nd. More info at IMDB, Trailer below.