This year is the 10th anniversary of the first Star Trek movie to feature the Kelvin Timeline Enterprise crew. It is also three years since that cast lost Anton Yelchin to a tragic accident. Chris Pine took the opportunity to honor Yelchin at a screening of Star Trek that also doubled as the debut of the trailer for Love, Antosha, a documentary about Yelchin’s life.
Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter, Pine recalled how Yelchin worked through chronic illness, cystic fibrosis, on his three Star Trek movies. “While we were shooting [Star Trek Beyond], especially towards the end, I think we could all tell that something wasn’t right with Anton,” Pine said. “I don’t think anyone knew that he was battling the illness that he was.
“We had about a week of doing a pretty intense stunt, like a really grueling, physically demanding stunt. I haven’t actually thought about it until now, but looking back on it, I remember how hard it was for him to get through it. And he never complained. He didn’t use [the disease] to get out of this fight scene, which he could easily have done, obviously.”
Pine told the crowd at the event about how Yelchin fit into their Star Trek family. “This curious, fascinating, complex, strange little dude who, when we started [Star Trek], he was about 10 years younger than all of us,” Pine said. “He was kind of our younger brother, and we saw him grow up and continue to get stranger and more curious.”
That idea of curiosity seemed to lead Pine towards reflecting on his own involvement with the Star Trek franchise. “I have deep, deep gratitude for the opportunity to have done it and to be a part of a franchise that’s always been defined by its empathy and its curiosity and its heart and its real attachment to, like every great sci-fi story does, telling now in the future, so we can understand now a bit better," he said.
Yelchin died in June 2016 at the age of 27 when his sports utility vehicle rolled down the driveway of his Los Angeles home and pinned him down. The tragedy occurred between the filming and release of Star Trek Beyond. A title card with the words “For Anton” was added to the film before the end credits. Director Justin Lin made a subtle edit to the film at the last minute, adding a shot of Yelchin’s Chekov when Kirk (Chris Pine) gave a toast to “absent friends.” Producer JJ Abrams has said the role of Chekov will not be recast following Yelchin's death, making it a lasting memorial to the actor's memory.
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