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Sunday, February 3, 2008

Interview with Charlie Bartlett actor Anton Yelchin

It's Iron Man versus the USS Enterprise! Who would win in this epic battle? Neither. Iron Man, who on a linear time line has been around longer than the Star Trek spaceship, would probably stop the culture mixing cruiser and teach it how to fly a little better. Just as Robert Downey Jr. has done with dispensed acting advice to his young Charlie Bartlett co-star Anton Yelchin.

Yesterday was a strange day. Three key ingredients to two of this year's biggest franchise debuts were out pimping their latest products. Iron Man director Jon Favreau was down in Santa Monica helping his buddies Vince Vaughn and Peter Billingsly sell their comedy documentary Vince Vaughn's Wild West Comedy Show. While Iron Man star Robert Downey Jr. and Star Trek star Anton Yelchin were at the Four Seasons helping to give their Independent film Charlie Bartlett a little push.

You had to feel a little sorry for them as throughout the day they were bombarded by the same type of questions. I didn't want to broach either subject, since I wanted to focus more on their individual projects. Vince Vaughn's Wild West Comedy Show is one of the funniest films hitting in the next few months, and Charlie Bartlett is an outright classic in the teen genre. It is a film that fits perfectly into the John Hughes cannon, as if it is a lost entry from that Era.

The news coming from the Iron Man camp is nothing new. The film is close enough that we've pretty much heard all we are going to here about it. It recently screened for Paramount executives, and they all love it. They are calling it the second coming of Robert Downey Jr. "That's always nice to hear." The actor stated. "I'm glad they're happy with it." Downey didn't have too much more to say, as his focus was on his co-star and their film Charlie Bartlett. Rightfully so. I am much more exciting about this comedy than I am about either of the two genre films these guys have coming down the pike.

Favreau didn't have much new to say that we haven't heard before. He'd love to direct a big screen version of The Avengers. But we'll have to wait until each character gets their own stand-alone film before we see that happen. The feeling is that Downey Jr. would be apart of this ensemble, as long as the "script is in a good place". Word around the water cooler is that Iron Man is gearing up to be the biggest film of the summer. It is definitely a milestone in both Favreau and Downey Jr.'s careers.

Star Trek is a film that hasn't been talked to death yet, and one of its stars has yet to become tired of chatting about it. I was the last one in for my Charlie Bartlett video interview. Afterward, Yelchin talked with me about the character work he is currently doing:

Anton Yelchin: I am working on Star Trek right now. It is a lot of fun. It is totally different than anything I have worked on. It is difficult in certain ways. I could sit and talk about Charlie Bartlett for hours. Because I spent hours getting to know this guy. I know the back of my hand worse than I know Charlie Bartlett. You sit and you have a character whose head you can dig deep, deep, deep into. Then you have Star Trek. There are only so many levels to Pavel Chekov. But then, there is a certain fun to that as well. I have had an opportunity to sit and watch the old series. I have been able to find what I'd like to pick up on. It is weird being on a set where a lot of the actors, myself included, have no idea what a turbine engine is. Or what it might do when it explodes. You are looking at a green screen that is supposed to be a battlefield. But nothing is going on. It is fun. It really puts you into the frame of mind that you are making a movie. I had this feeling that I was on a big film. It is the old classic idea of what a film set is supposed to be. I have never had that opportunity. It is fun. Is very different. It is interesting. I do really love digging deep. I love getting to know a person so well. I think that is the most important thing. You have to know everything. From the way they walk to the way they talk. To the way they dress. That is all an extension of who they are. It is weird when you get onto a set, and that isn't the case. No one asked me what I thought the Star Trek uniform should look like. Everything was planned out. But I had to find things in that sort of environment. That is very interesting. It is just cool and epic to be on that set. It is a lot of fun.

Did you meet with Walter Koenig?

Anton Yelchin: No. I was worried and freaked out that he would come on set and not like me. Then he would say may accent is awful. But he never came. He hasn't come thus far, and I am almost done. So...

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