My first point of contact was during the Star Trek reboot. That movie was humming along quite nicely when suddenly here was this young guy doing the Chekov thing. His attempts at entering his authorization code (9-5-wictor-wictor-2) were so delightful I made a mental note to see just who this kid was.
I don’t think I ever checked. But he had a long resume already.
It wasn’t until last summer, when he started popping up in the movies I happened to be watching, that I was reminded of his existence. His acting revealed an intelligence that brought more than the usual to his parts. He was versatile, and could both carry a leading role and do the supporting thing while also stealing scenes. He was good looking (those curls!) but talent oozed out of him in a way that pointed to a long career, even after those curls thinned out and disappeared, as they were already beginning to do.
The great tragedy of an actor dead long before his time is that we won’t have an opportunity to see what he does next. We can check through his back catalog and see what we’ve missed, but after the things in post-production are released, that’s it. Someone else will be Chekov in the future, someone else will take those parts he would have been great in and he will be forgotten sooner than he should be.
Yelchin didn’t die because he was troubled, or accidentally overdosed, or had been drinking too much, or was driving too fast. His death was a dumb random happenstance and too bad. Because we will never see where he was going to go. We can only imagine.
Here are the three movies from last summer that turned my head. They show his versatility: a conflicted lover, an enthusiastic musician, a young guy really into a hot girl. All are good in their own way and all were made better by his presence.