Anton Yelchin’s parents opened up about mourning their son, who was only 27 when he was crushed to death by his Jeep in the driveway of his home which pinned him against a pillar and a security fence in 2016.
Viktor and Irina Yelchin, who are former figure skaters from Russia, spoke with the Los Angeles Times about their son’s sudden death and the new documentary that will reflect on his life.
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The Yelchins revealed that they couldn’t bring themselves to sell the Alpha Dog actor’s house and they are currently living there.
“It’s difficult, but we feel his presence,” Viktor said. “We’re closer to him, even if it’s very hard.”
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“It’s hard to walk there,” Irina said, referring to the driveway. “It’s hard to live. But we are. So we have to do something while we’re here.”
Their documentary Love, Antosha, which is about the life of the late actor, sought out a coveted Sundance spot.
It will be debuting at the Sundance Film Festival on Jan. 28. Actor Jon Voight — who starred in the film Court of Conscience with Anton — suggested the documentary idea to Yelchin’s parents after they didn’t “see any reason to live” after their son’s death.
“He said, ‘Why? You have to live. Make a documentary and keep his memory alive,’” Viktor shared.
The documentary will feature interviews with many people who worked with their son including Jodie Foster, Kristen Stewart, J.J. Abrams, Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pine.
“Anton had so many projects that went through Sundance. It was always a home away from home for him,” said director Garret Price. “For his last movie to be there, essentially, it all feels like the way it’s supposed to be. I think it’s where he would have wanted it.”
“I wanted to tell a coming-of-age story and a linear story through his eyes,” Price said, who will be doing interviews at the festival alongside Yelchin’s parents. “The challenge of a story like this is it ultimately ends in tragedy but I didn’t want to make a tragic story. I wanted to make an inspiring story.”
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Love, Antosha will also take an in-depth look at the young actor’s career and his struggles with cystic fibrosis.
Yelchin’s parents said they didn’t tell the Star Trek actor the “full details of his diagnosis” until he was 17 years old.
“I didn’t want to introduce him exactly to what it was, because he was so artistic and so sensitive,” Irina said. “I was just afraid that he would go into it and he would get panicked or get affected by it too much.”
Yelchin’s parents also told the Los Angeles Times that they visit their son’s grave every day.
“Nothing is fun anymore,” Irina said.
Irina and Viktor said they are still mourning the loss of Anton but they will continue to preserve his memory.
“With this movie, it was difficult because everyone knows the end,” Irina said. “It can’t be changed, and you can’t avoid it. But I think people will love it because even though everyone knows the end, they’re still smiling and laughing. We had the best baby in the world.”
The couple said they are doing their best to live with the pain of their loss.
“We’re trying and trying,” Irina said. “I’m trying to put on makeup in the morning because Anton would always say, ‘You look so cute.’ I do it, and by the night, it doesn’t matter, it’s disappeared.”
In June 2016, Yelchin, a rising actor best known for playing Chekov in the new Star Trek films, was killed by his own car as it rolled down his driveway, police and his publicist said.
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The car pinned Yelchin, 27, against a brick mailbox pillar and a security fence at his home in Los Angeles, Officer Jenny Hosier said. He had gotten out of the vehicle momentarily, but police did not say why he was behind it when it started rolling.
Yelchin was on his way to meet friends for a rehearsal, Hosier said. When he didn’t show up, the group came to his home and found him dead.
— With files from Chris Jancelewicz and the Associated Press