Since a child I’ve found solace in watching good independent films. I would find intrigue in an actor, writer or director and search the shit out of their filmography list – Watching as many as I could, a type of homeschooling of sorts.
I became a fan of Anton Yelchin after his performance in one of my favorite movies, House of D, directed by David Duchovny. Here, he portrayed a boy named Tommy, a son with a complicated mother (Téa Leoni), a best friend to an older gentleman (Robin Williams) with special needs and an unlikely recurring visitor to Lady (Erykah Badu) a woman locked up in a detention center. The hospital scene with his mother and his last conversation with Lady has vividly stayed in my mind. Other works of his such as: Fierce People, Like Crazy, 5 to 7 and Green Room continued to show how interesting and multi-layered his wide-range of character’s could be.
The last time I saw Anton, he was visibly exhausted, but there was a calmness within him as well. Having left this hipster arcade spot, everything was closing… so we found a nearby bench and just sat there for what felt like quite a while. Anton was a philosophical and highly articulate man. His voice was raspy and strong, the kind of voice that forces you to listen while speaking to you, instead of at you.
He spoke about human behavior and psychology. Listening closely, I had either agreed or wanted further explanation. I would be lying if I said he didn’t make me nervous. Back then I struggled with vocalization, but to my appreciation, he was always patient.
Biking home, I thought about how lively he was. He loved his job, even when it wasn’t the kindest… even when it took away more than a healthy dosage of sleep. On that bench, he unintentionally gave me a new outlook on perception. I began to work on communicating more. Putting a halt on renouncing myself as silly whenever I expressed my thoughts and opinions. In place I did things with much more confidence – Leaving my flare of cynicism behind, I came to find the appropriate amount of optimism.
In Steven Riley’s documentary Listen to Me Marlon (2015), Marlon Brando says, “I was always somebody who had an unquenchable curiosity about people.” This sentence reminds me profoundly of Anton, because he too, had this delectable curiosity about the world and the people inhabiting it. What I’ve come to realize is that regardless if you’ve just met someone or you’ve known them forever, people can always leave a tremendous impression.
After a person passes, most would say how good they were and in this case, it’s true. Anton made me want to search for the happiness one finds through doing something they deeply and madly love. If I could, I’d tell him that his presence and advice influenced me immensely, getting me back into film – And for that, I will always be grateful.
By Amanda Nova