At this point, when I see there’s a love story starring Anton Yelchin, I’m in. I was so moved by Like Crazy that I still think about it to this day. Where Like Crazy had Jacob (Yelchin) and Anna (Felicity Jones) fought to keep their love alive long distance. In his new movie, 5 to 7, Yelchin plays a man in love with another man’s wife.
5 to 7 refers to the French tradition of accepted extra-marital affairs. As long as Brian (Yelchin) doesn’t interrupt Arielle (Berenice Marlohe)’s marriage, he can be with her form 5 to 7. I got to speak with Yelchin by phone about his latest movie, opening Friday, April 3, and look ahead to the third Star Trek film to be directed by Justin Lin.
Nuke the Fridge: Very important question, are Jacob and Anna still together?
Anton Yelchin: Hahaha, I don’t know. Probably not. Realistically, probably not.
Nuke: I seem to be the only person who still thinks they are. I think if they were strong enough to get through the hardest part of their relationship, they’ll work through anything.
Anton Yelchin: Oh, that’s great. Look, I think what’s wonderful about that film is it doesn’t preach. You can feel however you want to feel about it. That’s what’s great about films that don’t tell you what to think or feel. When we were doing press for that movie, one of the more interesting things was hearing what everyone thought was going to happen. Drake would ask people at Q&As to raise their hands whether they thought they were together or they were going to break up. It was interesting to see, depending on what the audience was, how many people raised their hands for either. It’s a credit to that film.
Nuke: Yeah, I haven’t met many people who agree with me though. Even Drake and Felicity say they didn’t make it.
Anton Yelchin: All three of us say that too?
Nuke: I think so, and it’s apropos of 5 to 7 because the PR compares it to Like Crazy. Did you see it that way?
Anton Yelchin: I can only compare it in the sense that it’s a romance. It has the same kind of openness to discussing love that Like Crazy has but I think it’s a different kind of film. It’s obviously a different kind of character and different situation. They both fall into the romantic film category.
Nuke: Is it great that Like Crazy is a reference now? That’s some staying power.
Anton Yelchin: Yeah, it is nice. I’m fortunate to be a part of that film. I know that’s the film that Vic saw when he decided that he wanted me to work on this one. That was the film he based it off of, so I’m very fortunate to be part of that film and I’m proud of that film, and the relationships that I have now with Drake and Felicity.
Nuke: So there is a direct connection.
Anton Yelchin: Sure, that was the film that he saw. He said that a lot.
Nuke: Does it change the usual romantic structure when you’re the protagonist of an extra-marital affair?
Anton Yelchin: Yeah, Vic said, to paraphrase something like, “Romance needs a conflict.” The conflict in this case is this extra-marital relationship. I think for me, for every character, I have sympathy for that character, so in the sense that if what I am to be sympathetic to is his desire for this love to work out, it’s in that sense like most romances. It just happens to be that the conflict is this not just extra-marital affair, but sanctioned extra-marital affair. That’s where the humor comes from, that he’s struggling with the fact that it’s sanctioned and it seems to be okay for everyone.
Nuke: Right, so what would “working out” mean for him?
Anton Yelchin: For me, Brian’s journey is incredibly relatable in the sense that he starts in one place, which is sort of a conservative point of view on what is ethical or what isn’t in relationships. Then his mind sort of opens to the possibility that that might not be the only way to look at things. And then ultimately what he has to contend with is something that we all have to contend with, which is being able to appreciate things and allow them to live within us, something that we appreciate and are grateful for, and feel that they have meaning even after they’re over. I think his journey is one of accepting the ephemeral and accepting that, once again to paraphrase, even if something doesn’t last forever doesn’t mean that it’s lost. So that’s really what he has to contend with. He’s trying to make this thing work in a permanent way. He’s trying to hold onto it and it’s got the fragility of something that just cannot be held onto.
Nuke: If it’s sort of doomed from the start, is there still a lot of good to look forward to before the inevitable happens?
Anton Yelchin: I think so. I think any time you’re in a new relationship, there’s so much to look forward to. You don’t know where it could go, just as Brian doesn’t really know where this is going to go. Realistically, if he never asks Arielle to marry him, if he didn’t feel strongly in that way where he would possess her in that way, he probably would have been with her for a long time.
Nuke: Is it also learning to embrace the heartbreak too?
Anton Yelchin: Yeah, it’s not necessarily embrace it. Accept it as a part of existence. That’s how he learns. That’s how he’s able to write. When I think about what is Brian’s novel about? It’s about her but what does that mean? I think what that means is it’s about this change and the value of having this experience and the glory and beauty of an experience that did not last. Like you said, accepting that it not lasting, it doesn’t go away. There’s still a power to it and importance to it.
Nuke: Is Star Trek going to be your next film or do you have something else lined up before?
Anton Yelchin: Yes, Star Trek will be the next film I work on.
Nuke: Have you seen the new script yet?
Anton Yelchin: No, I have not seen it. They keep things pretty heavily under wraps but I’m very excited. It’s a good group of people. It’s good to see them. I’m fortunate now to have done it twice. It’ll be exciting to do it a third time.
Nuke: Have you met with Justin Lin yet?
Anton Yelchin: I have, yeah, I have. I really like him. I think he’s going to do something really interesting with the film. First of all, J.J. is brilliant in the way he makes decisions and I think it’s a big deal that he’s chosen Justin. I think that already says a lot about him. That’s how I felt before I met him, but having met him I think his ideas are really interesting. He has a way of looking at it that is going to both reinvigorate it and also relate it closer to the kind of ethos of the original series.
Nuke: I know you can’t tell us what his plans are, but once we see it will we be able to tell that’s a different approach than the previous two films had?
Anton Yelchin: Well, it’s a different filmmaker so inevitably it is going to be a different approach. I don’t know that two filmmakers can have the same approach. Obviously I can’t talk about what kind of a film it’s going to be. We haven’t shot it yet, but I think it’s going to be a film that works with the other two and yet is it’s own thing.
Nuke: There’s another Terminator movie coming out this summer. Was Kyle Reese a role you ever wanted another shot at?
Anton Yelchin: Oh, I would have happily played that character again. I really like that character. I’m a big fan of the Terminator franchise. I don’t know too much about it. I did see a trailer. It looked good. It looked big and spectacle-driven as those films are. I’m sure [Jai Courtney] is going to be great. I think it’s exciting in a way to look at history and see the number of actors that have played different recurring characters and look at all their different interpretations. He’s significantly older than me so obviously that’s the direction they’ve gone now.