Dateline Movies Spotlight: Anton Yelchin

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He was a young up-and-coming actor, a part-time punk rocker with his former band, and you might remember him for being the new version of Pavel Chekov in the Star Trek reboot series, he is none other than Anton Yelchin.

Born to parents with a knack for figure skating, Yelchin was born on March 11, 1989 in Leningrad, at a time when the Soviet Union was active. His parents are often berated for their Jewish background by the KGB. After the KGB prevented his parents from partaking in the 1972 Olympics, he and his family managed to make their way to America and start a new life. Yelchin then pursued acting, initially wanting to be a figure skater like his parents.

After appearing in a few minor roles, including films such as Delivering Milo and Tenacious D, Yelchin officially made his first major role debut in the drama series Huff as Byrd Huffstodt, with co-stars Hank Azaria and Oliver Platt.

Afterwards, he gained his major break in the acclaimed adaptation of Stephen King's Hearts in Atlantis, wherein he played as an eleven-year old boy named Bobby Garfield, alongside veteran actor Anthony Hopkins as Ted Brautigan. For his role in Hearts of Atlantis, Yelchin won Best Performance in a Feature Film - Leading Young Actor in 2002's Young Artists Awards ceremony.

After guess-appearing in Criminal Minds, Yelchin received further recognition for his performance as Zack Mazursky, who was based on a real-life murder victim named Nicholas Markowitz in the film Alpha Dog. He co-starred here with Bruce Willis, Ben Foster, Justin Timberlake, Olivia Wilde, Emile Hirsch and Sharon Stone.
With Chris Evans, Kristen Stewart, Donald Sutherland and Diane Lane, he played as Finn Earl, a middle-class boy who learns about the ins and outs of the rich community when his drug-addicted mother attempts to rekindle their relationship. This indie movie is titled Fierce People, and it was not a commercial and critical success due to its story being hated by critics.

He later appeared as the titular character of the coming-of-age flick, Charlie Bartlett, appearing alongside Robert Downey Jr., Kat Dennings and Hope Davis (who he also co-starred with in Hearts in Atlantis) as a rich teenager attempting to reach the top part of the school hierarchy by providing therapy to his classmates.
After appearing in two more movies, Middle of Nowhere, with Susan Sarandon and Arrow's Willa Holland, and the indie English-French film You and I, he managed to earn his most iconic role in the form of Pavel Chekov in J.J. Abrmas reboot of the Star Trek series, with co-stars Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Simon Pegg, Karl Urban and Zoe Saldana. He would reprise this role later in the sequels Star Trek Into Darkness and the upcoming Star Trek Beyond.
Aside from appearing in the hated Terminator: Salvation and the equally panned The Smurfs movies, Yelchin would then land a main role in the remake of the cult classic Fright Night, with co-stars Colin Farrell, Imogen Poots, Toni Collette and David Tennant among many others. The film garnered critical acclaim, with Yelchin getting praise for his chemistry with Farrell's and Tennant's characters. He later performed in other acclaimed movies such as Odd Thomas, wherein he is a teenager who sees dead people (No, it's not The Sixth Sense), and The Green Room, appearing alongside Patrick Stewart and again Imogen Poots.
After wrapping-up shooting in his other yet-to-be released movies, Anton Yelchin sadly and unexpectedly passed-away on June 19, 2016. He was crushed between the weight of his car, which was left unchecked while parked on an inclined roadway, and a brick wall. After officially announcing him as deceased, his co-stars, as well as his family and friends, even fans and critics, mourned his passing. He was originally set to star in Guillermo Del Toro's new project Trollhunters. His last movies, Star Trek Beyond, We Don't Belong Here, Rememory and Thoroughbred will be released posthumously. According to one of his friends, Keith Kjarval, Yelchin was ready to commence production of his directorial debut, "Travis", which would have been about an actor slash photographer who became an unwilling witness to a murder.

When I heard that Anton Yelchin passed-away, I actually nearly cried. He was a very decent actor for his age. He was also one of the former child actors that I have never ever heard of doing what most child stars do at his age. He had so much potential, and so much to live for. Nevertheless, it is still an honor to watch him do what he does best, be that charming and geeky character that most of the time steals the show. Even if it was just for a short period of time, it was worth it. Thank you, Anton Yelchin, for sharing with the world your full range of talents! May you find peace with the other legends, especially those who have passed-away as well this 2016!


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