Chris Pine recalls working with Anton Yelchin in 'Star Trek Beyond'

Jul 17, 2016
Chris Pine Anton Yelchin death Star Trek Beyond

Chris Pine reprises his role as James T. Kirk in Paramount Pictures' new sci-fi, action-adventure “Star Trek Beyond,” a character he originated in 2009's “Star Trek” and continued in 2013's “Star Trek into Darkness” – both directed by J.J. Abrams.

One of the bigger plot points that dramatically changes the course of “Star Trek Beyond” is the destruction of the Starship Enterprise, which strands the crew on an unexplored alien planet.

“The stakes are as big as they get,” says Abrams, who's back as a producer. “After they see the Enterprise ripped to shreds and torn asunder, the crew is thrown all these different directions and forced to survive and reconnect with the rest of the crew. It’s wonderful because we get to see how well these separate pairs work together towards a common goal.”

For example, a newly introspective Captain Kirk finds himself stranded with youthful optimist Chekov (Anton Yelchin).

Chris Pine Anton Yelchin death Star Trek Beyond

Co-writer Doug Jung explains, “Kirk is an alpha male who has had all the answers and lived by the seat of his pants with his hair on fire. He’s proven himself and moved out of his father’s shadow, but now he’s faced with the existential question ‘What now? We liked the idea of putting the more jaded, cynical Kirk with Chekov, who’s young and eager, and much less cynical.”

Pine agrees, stating “The first two films were very Spock and Kirk-centric, but I think Doug and [co-writer] Simon Pegg were very smart to break everybody up to see how they all work together, and how they play off of each other. Being the captain of the Enterprise is the most defining thing in Kirk’s life. His father was also the captain of a ship that was destroyed, so the destruction of the Enterprise brings up a complex set of emotions tied to who he is, and I think Kirk sees a lot of himself in Chekov.”

“Where Kirk starts the film unsure of the future, Chekov comes from a place of absolute confidence in the mission,” said Yelchin. “When the Enterprise is destroyed, it really takes away everything they thought was important. They don’t even know if the rest of the crew is alive, so that forces them to relearn the value of love and the respect they have for their crewmates.”

Chris Pine Anton Yelchin death Star Trek Beyond

“Anton and I laughed a lot,” Pine recalls. “We have scenes where I’m harping on him and he’s harping on me, we’re being shot at and things are exploding all around us. It’s anxious and intense, but more fun than anything, because there’s such a great heart to Anton’s character and to Anton himself.”

Special note: On June 19, 2016, the Star Trek family lost one of its own. Anton Yelchin’s unexpected passing has devastated the cast and crew of “Beyond.” The cast, crew and fans worldwide have come forward to express their love for Anton and his portrayal of Pavel Chekov.

Yelchin will be remembered for his deep, abiding love of film and personal gratitude to be doing the work he was so passionate about. “I’m grateful every day I’m on set. If I ever feel like I’m behaving in a less than grateful way, I’m deeply disappointed in myself, because we are all so wildly fortunate to be doing this beautiful, lunatic thing…the amount of people and effort it takes to craft these images for someone to watch is madness and such a special thing to be a part of.”

“Chekov has heroic moments,” Yelchin once explained. “But what really makes him fun to play is his silliness and optimism. The joyful quality that Walter Koenig (the original Chekov) so beautifully brought to the character, I feel extremely fortunate to get to play with.”

Chris Pine Anton Yelchin death Star Trek Beyond

"I loved working with Anton,” recalls J.J. Abrams. “He was a deeply good soul. I can't believe or stand that he is gone."

Opening across the Philippines on July 20, “Star Trek Beyond” is distributed in the Philippines by United International Pictures through Columbia Pictures.

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