Dec 28 2011

December 28, 2011Author: webmissComments Off on Interview

Quick Bio

Anton Yelchin has quietly put together a strong acting career with big roles in Star Trek, Termination Salvation and Fright Night. In his newest film, Yelchin and costar Felicity Jones play long-distance lovers in Drake Doremus’ intimate and upsetting drama Like Crazy.Yelchin stars as Jacob, a Los Angeles-based furniture designer who falls hard for Anna, an English student. They are always aware that they will be separated when her visa expires. But when the time finally comes, Anna decides to stay in L.A. and finds herself in deep legal trouble. Doremus shot 30-minute improvised takes with the actors — an unusual way to make a film. But according to Yelchin, it was the most authentic way this story could be told. We spoke with Yelchin in Toronto.

I understand you did 30-minute takes. That’s really unusual.

Anton Yelchin : It was amazing. It was probably the most liberating and amazing thing I’ve experienced while working. You always have to know your character better than you know yourself, and I always strive to do that, but when you have lines you always have to hit your mark. Some filmmakers are less concerned with you knowing your lines, but there is always that framework that you’re in and they’re always those beats that you have to hit. With this, you just know who this person is completely, and if you don’t, you get lost.  When we got to work, there was no danger of that. We knew these people, and you opened your mouth and whatever comes out or doesn’t come out is that person and you just stay in that realm.  The takes would get really long because there is always silence in a relationship. At first it was all talk, talk and talk. At the end of the rehearsal, we realized the most honest, the most truthful thing is to let those silences live and be comfortable with that.

Here we did takes where we didn’t talk at all. In a relationship when things are really great you don’t need to say anything and just enjoy the other person. Sometimes with a couple, it gets dark and you don’t know what to say and that silence can last all day. Other times you don’t want to stop talking because you don’t want to lose one another. So, at dinner, Jacob and Anna are trying to get each other to say things that are optimistic, but inevitably their conversation stays half stuck and the silence creeps in.  It’s amazing. It’s liberating. You can go wherever you want. You can stay seated or get up. It really is magical for an actor.

How intense did it get?

AY : It’s not personal, in the sense that I feel the character couldn’t be more different from me. But what happened is when you become this person, you completely lose yourself. Then it does become very personal. It becomes this surreal magic kind of thing where you literally forget that you have a life outside.  Because we shot six days weeks, long days, we were just there all the time, I forgot there was a world outside this realm; I was just part of it all the time. You just become that person. It’s a mind f*ck, to say the least, but a beautiful one. That was a very intense time.

People in long-distance relationships sometimes seek them out because they have trouble face to face. Plus, there’s the excitement of trying to be together.

AY : I think for these people, if she had not overstayed her visa, they would have been happy together. It was really traumatic that it [the separation] happened. Anna falls in love with him, and she is the first person who really opens him up to anything. It’s like they truly love and enjoy each other, and then this obstacle comes and they’re thrown this curveball and they don’t know what to do. I completely understand what you’re saying and get that, because I’ve been in relationships where the person was really difficult and troubled and I probably fed off of that in ways. There is something bizarre where you feel needed, but I don’t think this was the case with Jacob and Anna.

There were no sex scenes between Anna and Jacob, but we do see them having sex with other partners.

Anton Yelchin : The audience was not meant to see their sexual experiences. It’s about all these other things and in a weird way you can imagine what their sex life was like without really seeing it. The editor did a brilliant job. It must have been a f*cking insane film to edit. We do all these takes, and every take was different, and coverage was all over the place. What’s important when you see them have sex with someone else is that you see how they should really be together, an important counterpoint. The sex scenes with their lovers were just used to motivate your understanding of how far apart they are and how much they want to be with one another. Their togetherness is a completely different realm. I believe sexual tension drives a lot of things, but their relationship wasn’t about that tension. It was their love and appreciation of one another, and you see it get so brutally destroyed.

Was there anything you and costar Felicity Jones had to especially stay away from?

AY : One of the rules was that there was nowhere you couldn’t go as long as it was in character. A movie that could have been very melodramatic isn’t; it is contained and subtle and intelligently voyeuristic. That was an intense time, a very intense time. Then, suddenly, it ended, and a few days later I was in New Mexico doing Fright Night.

The film ends ambiguously. What do you think happened?

AY : When we were filming, it was just ambiguity, that complex feeling. We all experience it — especially if you don’t know what’s going on with your relationship. It’s a cold, weird, sad feeling, not sad in a heartbreaking way, but just sad. You don’t feel like crying, but you’re lost. Afterward, I think it’s just best to leave it at that, an ambiguous place. It’s more interesting not to have a definite answer. {source}

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