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INT: Anton Yelchin

May. 7, 2009by:

Young Anton Yelchin carries himself pretty well for a 20 year old, and seems to have his head on straight. When I was 20 I was still laughing at Happy Days and delivering newspapers. Anton has been in some pretty decent flicks like ALPHA DOG, HEARTS IN ATLANTIS, and CHARLIE BARTLETT. Oh yeah, and muthahousin' STAR TREK. In T4, Anton plays a Kyle Reese, who I guess is pretty important in the Resistance? I forget.

Anton Yelchin

So youre a huge fan of the other Terminator movies. How are you going to capture that feel? How hard is it for you to play this character?

Anton Yelchin: Well, its not so much hard as a really great challenge because Kyle Reese is a wonderful character, you know, hes really, really a complex character and I think playing him when hes younger allows you the ability to dig into what he was in the first one and say look, Im going to take him apart and then sort of show you how he got to that point. And so it was like I would watch the first one and just look at every scene and see what I could take from it and then bring it to this one. And if scenes need to be adjusted to that we would adjust them, Its just really interesting to say all right well hes so battle hardened and tough in that one and then when he has the picture hes madly in love with her and for the first time you see him so open. So how do I show you the openness, you know, that is in the guy that has the picture? Why is he so in love with her from just a picture, you know? How can I show you that as a kid? How do I show you him becoming battle hardened and its just great. Its really a challenge. Its a wonderful challenge for an actor. Iits so much fun and theres a wealth of material in this script. But then theres also this whole other material to dig into and then use so, its been great.

Its similar challenge in Star Trek where youre also playing a character that had been defined before. Its kind of now that were in a age of remakes and sequels, its something thats going to be more frequent. When you approach it, do you always have to start the character and not whats been done before? Because you still have to bring something to it thats yours?

AY: Right of course, of course. But I think I dont know when I started, I started watching the first movie and the same thing with Star Trek like, I looked at all the old shows and the old movies and same here. I would look at the movie, you know, and watch it and say this is who this guy is. You know what I mean? And yes Im going to bring of my own too because Im interpreting what I think he is and how I see how he became that. So Im obviously interpreting it but I do look at the old movie because there is so much there. Before you even get to this script, I have to know who he is and who he was and who everyone wants to see. And then bring that to this, you know, and make sure thats there. And make sure that people can see what I did but also see hey, yeah, that is Kyle Reese, you know, thats not just anybody thats Kyle Reese. And Kyle Reese is in the first one and he is defined in the first one.

We saw some of the selects, McG showed us some footage. And it seems like theres a lot of physicality with your role. Can you talk about the challenges of getting ready to play this part and what you did?

AY: Well truthfully its just like all that the action sequences and all the-- its like a big day long workout. You know what I mean? Cause, you know, like jumping around stuff 30, 40, 50, 60 times. Every setup we do however many takes then just go to a different thing. But youre still doing it, its weird there wasnt so much prep for that like I guess Im relatively in shape or I dont want to say Im ripped, you know, but whatever Im relatively in shape, like I can do that stuff but its more of just incredible fun. Its like being a little kid. Its like what I would do when I was three. Pretending to be Schwarzenegger in T2, you know, cause that was really big when I was a little kid. Cause it came out in 92, I probably started watching it when I was about five, around 94 or something, you know. So its like being a kid you run around with guns and shoot them and you pretend someone is trying to kill you, its great.

Can you talk a little bit about the fact that youve done a lot of indie movies and then your last two projects have been rather large. Can you talk a little bit about how your career has shifted over the last few years?

AY: I dont know. I mean Im really lucky to be a part of these like I think its really-- its got great characters first and foremost and then second of all theyre great projects. But I sort of just approach them the same way. I study every character and it doesnt matter that its Chekhov or that its Kyle Reese, that its a huge blockbuster or its a tiny movie. You approach the character, study and everything the same way. In addition to that in a movie like this you just get to have a blast, you know.

Whats the most shocking thing that we dont know about Kyle Reese?

AY: Whats the most shocking thing that you dont know about Kyle is, I dont know. I mean, I know I mentioned this before and I dont know if you know it but the thing that-- the way I feel about the first film is, you see a lot of potential for like a really complex character. But the magic of the first film is that its really layered. You still are having so much fun the entire time. So for me it was like taking, like I said, that moment with the picture. Do you know where that comes from. How do you know why Kyle Reese is so sensitive about that one thing. And I think in this movie we get to explore that and thats when people are going to say oh look, look Kyle Reese grew up to be a bad ass and grew up to be a guy that could take on, you know, Terminator. But look as a kid like he also was bad ass but then there are parts that, you know, he grew up without a family. Like all of these things, you know, that I think are really interesting to look at from just a-- like I said I look at every character, its like a human being, its not Kyle Reese the really cool guy from Terminator. Its Kyle Reese the human being that has to go through all these things.

How do you deal with extra pressure of bringing a character like this to life whose been played before and everybody knows this character? So isnt there extra pressure on you?

AY: Yeah, I mean I guess there is but I guess to do a good job you have to block it out. You just sort of have be like I have to do a good job regardless. I have to do a great job every time whether theres no pressure or a lot of pressure so I treat it the same way.

How old is Kyle in this movie?

AY: I want to say late teens. Truthfully we havent shot the scenes where they talk about his exact age yet so I think, unless McG says something else when you guys talk to him. Im saying is hes in his late teens. Hes like my age, you know, whether its time wise-- theres a whole complex timeline thats like insane and we, like I said, we havent shot the scene where they actually mention his age cause Im never like, "Hey Im Kyle Reese Im this," you know-- but so late teens.

Whats the most challenging scene or action set piece youve done so far and what is the most challenging thing you think is on the horizon?

AY: I know you guys saw the reel right and theres that truck, in the truck we shot for like five days I think. At one point I fell off of it. I was like hanging-- like it was moving and I fell off it. I had a harness and I was just like hanging upside down and like the road-- my hands hitting the pavement and that wasnt challenging so much as it scared the shit out of me. You know I got off and I was like, "Im okay, you know, Im all right. Im Kyle Reese, I can handle that," but it was

Did everyone freak out around you?

AY: Yeah, I mean people freaked out until they saw that I was okay, cause I wasnt like, "Oh my God Im dying," you know, I just fell, got back up and it hurt like a bitch and then I was fine.

I wanted to know more about what might be the most challenging thing in the future?

AY: You know a lot of the scenes that we have left to shoot are actually, weve done most of the epic sort of action sequences because I think were moving into the studio to shoot interiors or whatever. So like I said the truck was all-- it was real. Theres I mean very, very, very, very little like maybe one shot of green screen or blue screen or whatever. So, that was probably the most challenging thing cause I was like literally climbing around in this truck, and the trucks moving. You go from here to the back, you fall, you slip whatever, so thats probably the most challenging thing that has happened and if you had asked me that question before we shot it I would say, thats what was coming up. But at this point were pretty much done with that.

Have you done most of your own stunts?

AY: Yeah, theres some stuff that like-- the stunt guys are like incredible. Really, really incredible what they do and like Ive done some of them. I was on a truck and it was moving, you know, but I dont want to take credit for what I didnt do because I really have so much respect for those guys. I think theyre incredible, incredible at what they do. And Logan Holladay was my stunt guy. Hes my age, hes 19 and hes like this fuckin' incredible dude that just does all this stuff. Its really amazing. So I dont want to take any credit away from them that they justly deserve because they are incredible at what they do.

Obviously Star Trek and Terminator are both giant iconic science fiction franchises. Are you a science fiction fan in general or genera is it more youre drawn to the role?

AY: Its more the characters. With Terminator though, I was a huge fan of it. Like I said it came out sort of the perfect time for me to be obsessed with it. I was a little kid and T1 came out before I was born but then I watched T1 after T2, you know. And so Terminator I love. Like, I have all the Terminators you see around you, I had action figures. So I was a huge fan of Terminator. So for me it was like, "Holy shit," you know, I'm on the set with the, you know and I

Is it in your contract to take any of these home?

AY: I dont know, God I hope so.

Is it in your contract to do the other two films after this?

AY: I dont know. I dont know how many films theyre going to do. Im not sure.

We'll worry about this one.

AY: Exactly well worry about making this one great and then when this ones great we can start the next ones.

I wanted to know, next May with the Star Trek release date getting shifted to May, you have this and Star Trek in the same month. Are you prepared for being in two of the arguably biggest films of next summer?

AY: I dont know. I dont know what preparation Id have to do. Like I think my prep is here, you know. This is what I do and then the rest is like it comes out, it does, hopefully, you know, knock on wood it does well and its a great movie and thats all I care about. I dont want to spend time prepping for that, I should prep for this.

Were you shooting anything before this? In between Trek and what have you been doing?

AY: Well actually I only finished Trek in... like my last shot in Star Trek was in March and then I came here at the end of April. So

Its been one to the other?

AY: Yeah pretty much. Yeah pretty much.

I was going to say have you had a lot of people asking you to do a certain accent when you meet them on the street? Does everyone realize youre in the movie, does fandom, have they already started?

AY: No, not really. I mean people that ask me like... I think one time I was actually when I first got to Albuquerque I went into like it was a noodle place. This guy came up to me and he was like oh man, the cashier or whatever is a huge Trekie. She knows you were in Star Trek. Could you, you know, sign something for her and I was like sure, yeah, I mean I think thats really cool, you know. Its like if I were sitting somewhere or working somewhere and like I dont know someone came in from a band or a movie and I saw them, it would make me so happy. So its really nice, you know, to be able to please someone like that. The only bummer about Star Trek is like when people ask me to do the accents, I cant. Because its like I always have to say no you have to see the movie because its like very secret but its really fun cause I get-- Trekies are really, really, you know, theyre very, I guess, possessive and they love it so much. But thats the first time that what I just described is the first time Ive ever had that happen as a result of Star Trek. It felt really nice. It was like damn I can make this person really happy right now, you know. So it was great.

Did you take home anything from the set?

AY: No, like I said its top secret. Like, I dont even have pictures of me from that set.


AY: Yeah, its very secret. I guess its all the more that people will want to see it, you know.



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11:08PM on 05/08/2009
Seems like a very down-to-earth guy. Good interview.
Seems like a very down-to-earth guy. Good interview.
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