October 25, 2011
Is Anton Yelchin the next leading man?
That’s what a New York magazine profile of Russian-Jewish actor Anton Yelchin suggests. But thus far, Yelchin is best known for supporting performances in J.J. Abrams’s “Star Trek” and 2009’s “Terminator Salvation”. His next film may change that, since he plays the romantic lead in Drake Doremus’s long-distance love story “Like Crazy” which won the Grand Jury Prize at least year’s Sundance Film Festival. The film is intimate and intense, with scenes that finely detail the nuances of young love, but it fails to boil the blood. While Yelchin plays a lovelorn American separated by immigration law from his British gal-without-a-green-card, he actually seems far more interesting in person, with a penchant for profanity.
Throughout the piece, Yelchin rails against capitalism and details an experimental film he’s making about “the clash between commodification and identity”. He states (somewhat ironically) that images are “the most important commodity in our culture.” Acting, he likes, though he is not fond of celebrity or photographs, because they feed into the commodification of images which he distrusts. Observing a scene of college girls sitting in the grass, playing with their iphones, Yelchin posits some dark under-web of disorder brewing beneath the benevolent surface. Logan Hill writes:
On screen, Yelchin comes off with a kind of naive innocence, an almost feminine frailty that is tender and sweet, but lacks the swagger that makes women swoon. Is this leading man material?
The story sets him up that way, because apparently there’s a shortage of those in today’s Hollywood (the same thing is often said about Ryan Gosling who much more aptly fits the bill in my opinion) but Yelchin does not give off that cool, hard masculinity romantic leads require. He’d be better cast as some slightly bizarre computer genius who’s part of an underground anti-government rebellion. He obviously resents power structures.
But even though he speaks about capitalism as if it were a dark, sadistic force, he is clear on his appreciation for what his Russian-Jewish immigrant parents sacrificed so that he could reap the benefits of the American Dream: