Anton Yelchin Discusses How He Got His Start and His Experiences as a Young Actor

Whether it’s navigating on the bridge of the Enterprise in Star Trek, or making speeches in front of the whole school in Charlie Bartlett, Anton Yelchin is used to larger-than-life characters.

One of his latest, Jacob from Like Crazy, is quite the opposite. Yelchin talked with The Hollywood Reporter where he reflected on the start of his acting career, his influences, and his latest films.

When asked what films or experiences influenced him the most as a kid, Yelchin responds, “As a kid when I went to the movies, in the movies themselves at the theaters, Arnold Schwarzenegger was probably the biggest influence on me. Because Arnold put out so many awesome 90’s cheesy action flicks, specifically Last Action Hero… they didn’t really inspire me to want to be in movies, but I just loved them. Those experiences were so great.”  Regarding how he got into acting, Yelchin recalls how his parents were athletes but he was horrible at all sports. He appreciates his mother who would take off time from work to support his career: “So I did all of these sports and was bad at them, and they took me to this class just to take up my time, and I loved it. I specifically expressed that to them that I loved it. My mom was particularly supportive because she said, ‘Great. If you’re going to do this, if you’re going to go every week and study the lines they give you, then it’s something that I’ll take you to.’”

Yelchin eventually told his parents that he wanted to do something else: “At a certain point I told her that I just, you know they were all commercials, that I just didn’t want to do that. That wasn’t something that I felt that I wanted to do, and she was like, ‘fine, if I’ll either find, you know, we’ll find out if there’s something else you could be doing, or you won’t do this anymore if this isn’t what you want to do.’ And then I, you know, ended up getting an agent and doing TV and movies and all that.”

Reflecting on how his career has really taken off in the last few years, Yelchin says, “After Alpha Dogs, I really consciously, consciously, consciously, consciously started working on characters more than I had before. Because I’ve always map out characters, map out obviously how they were doing emotionally but then specifically with Charlie Bartlett I was like, ‘Alright, this job is about creating characters, you know and exploring characters and figuring them out.’ I think more consciously than I had before, and that’s been a guiding factor with me in everything since then.”

When questioned about how he got into working with Like Crazy director Drake Doremus, Yelchin responds, “I’d been hearing about Drake and I’d been hearing about Douchebag and I saw Douchebag and really liked Douchebag. And I heard about what Jonathan was doing with Drake and making these improv. films for practically nothing and I thought that was really exciting and I was always really on page with… making movies for very little, that you could just have total freedom with, and like I said, I’m very supportive of that.”

Leave a Reply
‘The Tick’ Star Griffin Newman on Acting in a Superhero Suit
"You very quickly realize there’s a certain iconography and a power to wearing one of these suits." - Griffin Newman
Why Idris Elba Believes His “best performance is yet to come”
"There was a time when I was a job actor and I didn’t know what I wanted to learn from it – I just wanted to get paid." - Idris Elba
Frances McDormand on “Being the Other” Actress
McDormand talks about her unique approach to her career and uses her latest acclaimed role as an example.
J.B. Smoove Tells the Story of His Audition For ‘Curb Your Enthusiasm’
"You don't know how the universe is gonna work for us. But all this plays a part in our journey" - JB Smoove
Watch: Denzel Washington Explains Why He Passed on a Role Early in His Career
Washington explains why he turned down a role -- and how it worked out for the best.