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Anton Yelchin on hitting the books for “Star Trek 2” and Benicio Del Toro casting rumors

Anton Yelchin on hitting the books for “Star Trek 2” and Benicio Del Toro casting rumors (photo)

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Do you want to know my deepest, darkest secret?

I’ve been to a “Star Trek” convention.

Back in middle school I was a full-on “Star Trek” nerd. I watched the shows, I read the novels, I bought the toys. God help me, I even owned a “Next Generation” costume. It was as red, the same color my cheeks get as I recount these details. I’m not proud of my Trekkie past, but after J.J. Abrams‘ outstanding 2009 franchise reboot, I was a lot less not proud. That movie was both a fantastic homage to the series’ storied past and an impressive blueprint for a bright future. It made “Star Trek” cool.

When I got the chance to talk to actor Anton Yelchin about his beautiful new film “Like Crazy,” I couldn’t help myself. Talking to the guy who plays Abrams’ version of Ensign Pavel Chekov, the USS Enterprise’s Russian accented navigator brought out the lapsed Trekkie in me. Yelchin was nice enough to accommodate a few questions about Abrams’ upcoming “Star Trek” sequel, currently scheduled to go into production in January of next year.

Unless my math is off, that’s just two months away, but Yelchin told me he still doesn’t know what he’ll be doing in this movie (besides pronouncing v’s like w’s of course). “I’ve been told that at a certain point I will actually read a draft,” Yelchin said. That’s what happened last time: I went into J.J.’s office and I read a script, but I had to leave it there. So I’ll probably read a draft and then in a couple weeks they’ll send me, like, some top secret draft that I bring to set but it stays in the trailer and doesn’t leave [laughs]. So at a certain point I will actually read the script before I go in to work. I don’t just show up and get sides.”

It sounds really challenging to prepare for a role without knowing exactly what you’ll be doing or saying in it, but Yelchin assured me there’s plenty of prep he can do without a script. “I’m going to go back and watch the old show and movies again,” he said. “I’ll dig out my old script and go through my notes on the character from that. And also, weirdly enough, I’ll rewatch ‘Star Trek’ and watch my own performance to make sure basically I’m moving the same way. I’m sure there’s things I’ve forgotten. I still have my ‘Star Trek Encyclopedia’ on my desk. I’m gonna whip that out and start reading up on things.”

Reading up on things online is how Yelchin’s been learning of the latest developments on the upcoming sequel. He didn’t hear about the still unconfirmed rumor that Benicio Del Toro may play the film’s villain until he saw it posted on the web. Weeks after that announcement, Yelchin still doesn’t know whether Del Toro’s officially on board or not. “I think I’ll probably know when I get to work and he’s either there or not,” he joked, before adding that Del Toro would be an “amazing” choice for the part. “Just the thought of him being in the film is very exciting,” he said.

One thing that will definitely be in “Star Trek 2” with Yelchin is his great, Walter Koenig-inspired sorta-Russian Chekov accent. Is it a hard accent to do? “It’s a lot of fun to do. I don’t know if it’s hard or easy,” Yelchin told me. While trying to find just the right voice for the character, the Russian-born, American-raised actor even tried having his grandfather read Chekov’s lines for him for inspiration. “I recorded him [doing it], but having someone in their 80s who doesn’t speak English try to say these pseudoscientific terms — within the first couple words, I was like ‘This is not going to work,'” Yelchin recalled with a laugh.

“I think Walter Koenig’s accent is so great,” he continued. “The character he created is so great. He’s such a joyous character. In one of my favorite ‘Star Trek’ episodes, all he does is spend the whole time macking on his girlfriend. That’s literally all he does in the episode!”

If you’re curious, that episode is “The Way to Eden” (at least I think it is; remember I’m a lapsed Trekkie). And if you’re curious, no, Yelchin hasn’t been to a “Star Trek” convention yet. Unlike, y’know, me. Look for the rest of my interview with Yelchin about the excellent “Like Crazy,” which is currently in theaters, on Monday.

Would you want Benicio Del Toro to play the villain of “Star Trek 2?” Tell us in the comments below write to us on Facebook and Twitter.

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Rev Up

Your Portlandia Personality Test

The New Portlandia Webseries Is Going Your Way

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Carrie and Fred understand that although we have so much in common, we’re each so beautifully unique and different. To help us navigate those differences, Portlandia has found an easy and honest way to embrace our special selves in the form of a progressive new traffic system: a specific lane for every kind of driver. It’s all in honor of the show’s 8th and final season, and it’s all presented by Subaru.

Ready to find out who you really are? Match your personality to a lane and hop on the expressway to self-understanding.

Lane 10: Trucks Piled With Junk

Your junk is falling out of your trunk. Shake a tail light, people — this lane is for you.

Lane 33: Twins

You’re like a Gemini, but waaaay more pedestrian. Maybe you and a friend just wear the same outfits a lot. Who cares, it’s just twinning enough to make you feel special.

Lane 27: Broken Windows

Bad luck follows you around and everyone knows it. Your proverbial seat is always damp from proverbial rain. Is this the universe telling you to swallow your pride? Yes.

Lane 69: Filthy Cars

You’re all about convenience. Getting your car washed while you drive is a no-brainer.

Lane 43: Newly Divorced Singles

It’s been a while since you’ve driven alone, and you don’t know the rules of the road anymore. What’s too fast? What’s too slow? Are you sending the right signals? Don’t worry, the breakdown lane is nearby if you need it.

Still can’t find a lane to match your personality? Check out all the videos here. And see the final season of Portlandia this spring on IFC.

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Give Back

Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

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GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

It’s the final countdown to Christmas and thanks to IFC’s movie marathon all Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, you can revel in classic ’80s films AND find inspiration for your last-minute gifts. Here are our recommendations, if you need a head start:

Musical Instrument

Great analog entertainment substitute when you refuse to give your kid the Nintendo Switch they’ve been drooling over.

Breakfast In Bed

Any significant other or child would appreciate these Uncle Buck-approved flapjacks. Just make sure you’re not stuck on clean up duty.

Cocktail Supplies

You’ll need them to get through the holidays.

Dance Lessons

So you can learn to shake-shake-shake (unless you know ghosts willing to lend a hand).

Comfy Clothes

With all the holiday meals, there may be some…embigenning.



Get even more great inspiration all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC, and remember…

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A-O Rewind

Celebrating Portlandia One Sketch at a Time

The final season of Portlandia approaches.

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GIFs via Giphy

Most people measure time in minutes, hours, days, years…At IFC, we measure it in sketches. And nothing takes us way (waaaaaay) back like Portlandia sketches. Yes, there’s a Portlandia milepost from every season that changed the way we think, behave, and pickle things. In honor of Portlandia’s 8th and final season, Subaru presents a few of our favorites.

via GIPHY

Put A Bird On It

Portlandia enters the pop-culture lexicon and inspires us to put birds on literally everything.

Colin the Chicken

Who’s your chicken, really? Behold the emerging locavore trend captured perfectly to the nth degree.

Dream Of The ’90s

This treatise on Portland made it clear that “the dream” was alive and well.

No You Go

We Americans spend most of our lives in cars. Fortunately, there’s a Portlandia sketch for every automotive situation.

A-O River!

We learned all our outdoor survival skills from Kath and Dave.

One More Episode

The true birth of binge watching, pre-Netflix. And what you’ll do once Season 8 premieres.

Catch up on Portlandia’s best moments before the 8th season premieres January 18th on IFC.

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