Anton Yelchin, in part one of our interview with him, spoke about his experience playing Chekov in Star Trek (2009) and started to preview his latest project, the upcoming remake of the 1980s horror-comedy Fright Night. Today, in the second half of our conversation, the actor chats more about Fright Night, discusses the film Odd Thomas, which he’s shooting right now, says he’ll “be there” whenever J.J. Abrams and company are ready to roll camera on the Star Trek sequel, and explains his penchant for alternating between independent features and major-studio productions.
Colin Farrell (who plays the vampire Jerry) and David Tennant (who plays a vampire killer/magician) get to chew the scenery in Fright Night. Did you feel a little bit like the straight man on set?
Yelchin: Yeah, absolutely. But that allows them to do whatever they want. That’s my job in the film. That allows them to do what they want to do and go as far as they want to go, because there’s someone grounding the situation, essentially this hyper-real situation in some kind of reality. So they could be as vague and great as they wanted, and I enjoyed every minute of watching their performances, because they’re great actors, great characters. But somebody has to be there to be the audience, essentially, and feel some sense of urgency or danger in the reality you’re watching.
This movie really has an exceptionally good cast. How did you enjoy working with Farrell, Tennant, Toni Collette, Imogen Poots and Chris Sarandon?
Yelchin: It was great. One of the best things about going to Comic-Con, aside from presenting a movie to an audience that was obviously waiting for it, was just seeing all these people again. We all got along really well. It was a great time. Chris and I became really good friends. We have sort of the same background and we got to be friends. I’d say every one of us got to be friends and I really appreciate the fact that I’m now able to have these people in my life. And it wasn’t just the cast. The crew was great, too. And I’m working with some of them on the movie I’m doing right now.
Sarandon was in an episode of Deep Space Nine, actually. But did you pick his brain about the original Fright Night?
Yelchin: You know, I really didn’t do that. I just appreciated him being there. I’m a big fan of his work in Dog Day Afternoon. So when I look at him, that’s kind of what I see. That’s a film I grew up on, and his performance in that is absolutely brilliant. It was cool to have him on set, and I think it was a huge kick for Colin, too, because they’re playing Jerry.
The original Fright Night begat Fright Night II. If this new version of yours is popular, how open are you to returning for a sequel?
Yelchin: Of course. I think the people are great. I like this film, and if we can make another that I like, that’d be awesome.
You’re working now on Odd Thomas, which is based on the Dean Koontz book series of the same name and stars you, Willem Dafoe, Tim Robbins, 50 Cent and Addison Timlin. How is that going? And what intrigues you most about the creepy story?
Yelchin: It’s going well. It’s a great group of people, a great cast and crew. For me, it’s a very good story. Ultimately, it’s a beautiful romance, a tragic romance, which is something people are always drawn to. For me, it’s a pulp novel. It’s like Raymond Chandler, but with supernatural s*** thrown in. It definitely has that quality, and I like that. That excites me.
J.J. Abrams got busy with Super 8. Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman have had Cowboys & Aliens and other projects going on. And so the next Star Trek film has been in a holding pattern. How ready are you to finally get back into Chekov’s uniform and start filming another Star Trek adventure?
Yelchin: I’m ready. I’m ready. It’s been a while, but whenever they let me know, I’ll be there.
From the looks of things, you’ll have some time between wrapping Odd Thomas and starting the Star Trek sequel. What are you hoping to do in between the two?
Yelchin: I don’t exactly know when Star Trek is going, but if there’s space I’d like to do, probably, a smaller film.
That’s been your M.O., acting in a couple of smaller films and then a couple of bigger-budget studio films. So, the last few years, you’ve done Star Trek and Terminator Salvation, but also Charlie Bartlett and The Beaver and the upcoming drama Like Crazy. What keeps you going back to the indie films?
Yelchin: I think right now, personally, that we’re just at the beginning of a revolution in independent filmmaking. You don’t need that much money to make a good independent film, not that much money at all. You can make a film for less than $10,000. You can make a film for the cost of a nice car. You can do it in your house if you just want to tell a story. You don’t need a production company. You can just go out, buy a 7D (camera), shoot a movie and cut it together. You don’t need a production company. You don’t need anything. You just need yourself, your mind and likeminded people to do it with you. I’m someone who’s very, very, very interested in that and would like to be involved in it. It’s a different time in terms of creation, pre-production and distribution for the indie film industry. Plus, as an actor, I’m interested in all sorts of things. I’m interested in characters. So it’s very important to me to be able to do both.
To read part one of our interview with Anton Yelchin, click HERE.