With the feature-film blockbusters “Star Trek” and “Terminator: Salvation” among his credits, Anton Yelchin stars in the pivotal role of Charley, the teenager confronted with an evil force in the form of his vampire next-door neighbor, in DreamWorks Pictures' horror-thriller “Fright Night.”
Yelchin was the filmmakers’ first choice for the role of Charley because of the actor’s ability to create rich performances that give more weight to his characters. Yelchin was excited about giving greater dimension to Charley. “I like the relationships in the story,” Yelchin explains. “Charley versus Jerry, Charley and his girlfriend, Charley and his friend Ed who he has shunned are all interesting elements. With director Craig Gillespie at the helm, we got to develop the nuances of all the relationships.”
Q: What made you want to do this movie?
Anton Yelchin: There were two reasons. The first one was that I thought the script was very solid, with a very relatable arc for my character of Charley. He’s a kid who loses track of what's valuable to him and then he’s faced with something that threatens to take away everything that is precious. He struggles through a lot of guilt and remorse but overcomes that to protect the people he cares about. That's a very relatable story to me.
The second was that Craig Gillespie was attached to direct. I was a fan of his movie “Lars and the Real Girl” and I thought he was such a cool choice to make a horror genre film that's a bit more mainstream. He’s known as someone who likes really interesting characters and makes actor’s movies. It turned out to be true. Craig is very much an actor’s director. He gives you a lot of freedom to create your character.
Q: Did you see the first “Fright Night”?
Yelchin: Oh, yeah, I love the first film. I think it's really intelligent and enjoyable. I think it also represents the horror genre’s transition during the 1980s from classic Hollywood horror into a more entertaining, very self-conscious, funny, campy genre.
Q: You play a teenager in “Fright Night.” How was that for you?
Yelchin: I played an architect in “Like Crazy” and a week later I was in New Mexico shooting “Fright Night.” I'm happy it turned out that way, because the movies are so different and the characters are completely different people. That always gives me a certain level of satisfaction because that's what I try and do in my career, is shake it up a bit. Otherwise, I don't understand the point of this job. You have to try and take different roles every time.
Q: Imogen Poots plays your girlfriend in the movie. Is there a difference between English and American actresses?
Yelchin: I've been very lucky. The last couple of films I’ve done I’ve worked with Jennifer Lawrence, Imogen and Felicity Jones, all of whom are extremely talented and intelligent, regardless of their nationality. I think these women are just very interesting people and I feel lucky to have been able to work with them.
Q: You were born in Russia but immigrated to the U.S. when you were six months old. Are you interested in making films in Russia?
Yelchin: I worked on a film there once. It was a very different experience. For me, it’s always about the filmmaker and I'm not particularly interested in going to Russia just to work in Russia. There are filmmakers there that I would really like to work with, though. If Alexander Sokurov was making a movie and called me up and said, ”Come make this movie with me,” I would be there in an instant. I’d also go to Austria to work with Michael Haneke or Denmark to work with Lars Von Trier. It isn’t about the country they’re in, it’s about their talent.
Q: What makes you scared?
Yelchin: What scares more than anything is probably the nature of humanity and the kind of horrible things that people can do to one another. That’s partly what “Fright Night” touches on.
(Opening across the Philippines on Sept. 07 in 3D and regular format, “Fright Night is a DreamWorks Picture distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures International through Columbia Pictures.)