RIP Anton Yelchin: 1989-2016

We pay our respects to the actor, taken far too soon


Well, this is a pretty horrible sentence to have to write: Anton Yelchin has passed away, aged just 27.

An excellent actor by any measure, Yelchin elevated pretty much everything he starred in by virtue of simply being there. And there’s a lot to choose from: in his short time, he worked on numerous projects with some of cinema’s most acclaimed filmmakers.

From Steven Spielberg and Joe Dante to Jim Jarmusch and JJ Abrams, he possessed the rare talent to be able to switch seamlessly from low-budget indies to Hollywood blockbusters, all the while never losing what it was that made him stand out.

An actor from a young age, he notched up strong supporting turns in films Along Came A Spider and Hearts In Atlantis, before coming to wider attention in the Spielberg-produced miniseries Taken.

Anton Yelchin as Pavel Chekov in Star Trek

From there, it was one memorable role after another, with one standout being as tragic teen Zack Mazursky in Justin Timberlake vehicle Alpha Dog.

Yet it was in 2009 that he really came to attention, taking on the role of Pavel Chekov in JJ Abrams’ Star Trek reimagining. Although not the meatiest role – or the best demonstration of his talents – he was nonetheless deservedly many a fan’s favourite crew member, effortlessly bringing warmth and pathos to the screen, his endearing qualities always shining through.

In 2011’s Fright Night

Inevitably, it brought him wider attention and more license to show what he could do. After following one massive franchise with another as the young Kyle Reese in Terminator Salvation, he starred across from Felicity Jones in 2011’s excellent romantic comedy Like Crazy, before making strong turns in the Fright Night remake and The Beaver in the same year, and even entering voiceover territory in The Smurfs and Studio Ghibli’s From Up On Poppy Hill.

A return to the role of Chekov followed in 2013’s Star Trek Into Darkness, before he ventured into more experimental but no less challenging fare, showing a whole new side to himself in the underrated Odd Thomas, again impressing in 2014’s Burying The Ex and stealing the show in the chilling, brilliant Green Room.

Alongside Alia Shawcat in Green Room

With Star Trek Beyond due out next month, we will see him yet again don Chekov’s yellow shirt in what will tragically be one of his last on-screen performances. There are no crumbs for comfort at this point, but at least he’ll have the large audience he deserves.

Rest in peace Anton Yelchin. Cinema has lost one of its rising stars.