The late Anton Yelchin

Interview: ‘Love, Antosha’ Director Garret Price

When I heard there was a documentary made about the life and brilliance of Anton Yelchin almost told through his own voice, I had no idea what I was in for. Knowing a few of Garret Price’s other projects, I knew that it would be wonderfully well-done. He has a way of capturing the truth of his subject matter, whether the project is of fictional or biographical nature. 

Check out the Love, Antosha trailer!

Throughout the documentary Love, Antosha, you see the respect Anton gained through those who were lucky enough to know him. But you also see love and respect growing in Mr. Price’s heart for this incredible young actor who left us too soon.

In this interview, you too will be able to see that, Anton Yelchin, was more than just an actor. He was an inspiring force of nature reminding us that life is too short to dream small.

Interview questions by Jessica Garver

Read our interview with director Garret Price

What was your drive behind directing this project?

The late actor Anton Yelchin
The late actor Anton Yelchin / Photo credit: Lurker Productions

Anton was such a driven, curious, and layered artist. He accomplished so much in such a short amount of time. I found many aspects of his life to explore as a filmmaker that I believed an audience could not only relate to but also be inspired by.  I wanted to paint a three-dimensional portrait of this generational talent the world was cheated of to see grow old and to do that from Anton’s point of view as much as possible. It was important for me to let Anton tell his own story.

What was your biggest challenge or setback?

The biggest challenge was trying to fit in the 60+ interviews we had at the end of the film.  Everyone we approached wanted to be a part of the project and share their experiences they had with Anton.  In the end, I had to make some tough decisions on cutting a few incredible interviews out of the film to service the narrative.

Compared to other projects you have worked on, how is this one different?

This film is incomparable to anything I’ve made in the past.  No other project will have a profound effect on me not only as a filmmaker but as a human being.  I have two young children and the way I parent now since starting this film has changed immensely because of how much I was inspired by the relationship and bond between Anton and his parents.

Did you have a certain perception of Anton before starting this project? How did it change?

Anton Yelchin in "Star Trek"
Photo credit: Lurker Productions

I didn’t know Anton personally before starting the film.  I knew him from Star Trek, a couple of his indies and unfortunately like most people I’ve discovered, by his horrible accidental death.  This was something I wanted to change with this film. He did so much in the 27 years he was with us that I quickly discovered that this would be a film about life and not about a death.  Anton was the definition of living life to the fullest and I wanted the film to reflect that.

What do you hope people take away from this film?

As the film is making its way in front of audiences, I’ve started to realize how much of a self-reflective experience it is watching Anton’s story.  People start to question how they are spending their time. Are they pushing themselves, creating, learning, taking risks, expressing themselves, etc?  This film is inspiring people to do more, which I love and I truly believe something Anton would love. His closest friends have told me he’d love to know that his story was inspiring people to create and not waste a moment of the short amount of time we have with our loved ones.  

What is something you yourself learned about this incredible young man’s journey?

Anton Yelchin and Felicity Jones in the 2011 film "Like Crazy"
Anton Yelchin and Felicity Jones in the 2011 film “Like Crazy” / Photo credit: Paramount Vantage

There were surprises around every corner for me. And I really wanted to reflect those initial reactions I had as I was discovering who this person was in the film.  I wanted the story to unfold for others in the same manner as it did for me as I was editing the movie. The biggest surprise was probably the fact he was secretly living with cystic fibrosis his entire life.  This is an extremely taxing chronic illness that takes a ton of daily care and treatments just to start your day. For Anton to be living with this, and not wanting anyone to know so they wouldn’t feel sorry for him, is an incredible testament to the type of person he was. No one I interviewed was aware of him having this disease.  He never used it as a crutch, but more or less as motivation to keep pushing forward.

Was there a moment during filming that made you realize this was going to have a profound impact on people or at least resonate with others?

As I started testing the film in front of audiences, I began to realize that the film [worked] on multiple levels.  Not only were people learning about Anton, which was my initial goal, but they were being inspired by him. It’s been an incredible journey that has forever changed me not only as a filmmaker but also as a person.

Featured image credit: Lurker Productions

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