Love, Antosha, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, can be a difficult film to watch because it’s still so hard to believe Anton Yelchin is gone. And the circumstances behind his 2016 death (he was killed in his driveway in a freak accident) just seemed so, for lack of a better word, unfair. There’s a scene in Garret Price’s documentary on the actor’s life in which Chris Pine seems openly angry that this is what happened to his friend. The film is filled with people, from the actors and directors he worked with, to his longtime friends and his parents, who all still seem so shocked and confused that he’s gone.
Another extremely important aspect of the documentary is the revelation that Yelchin was battling Cystic Fibrosis. Really battling, which partially explains his remarkable output during his all too-short life. (Price even reveals ahead that a doctor who specializes in treating Cystic Fibrosis has said he’s going to use this documentary as inspiration for his patients.)
Ahead, Price and producer Drake Doremus (who directed Yelchin in Like Crazy) explain why they wanted to make this film and why Yelchin was such a special person.
Admittedly, I wasn’t going to watch this because it just seemed tough, but I’m really glad I did.
Garret Price: I think after you sit with it, you start to feel more inspired with what Anton did during his time with us, you know? It’s a definition of living life to it’s fullest and I wanted to capture that in a film. And, yeah. I wanted to tell that story versus the tragedy of it all.
You got so many people to be in this, like Chris Pine and Jennifer Lawrence and so many others. Is that a difficult phone call? I’m sure this is a raw subject.
Price: I think because a lot of these invites came from Anton’s parents, people just wanted to be involved. And I mean, Chris’s interview is like two and a half hours straight. He just talks about Anton. It’s amazing. And a lot of these were like that.
You have two and a half hours of Chris Pine just talking about him?
Price: Yeah. In his pajamas. He had his pajamas on beneath his shirt. But the interviews are so authentic and so unguarded and you just don’t get that in these types of films, I think. They start telling a story and you just watch their eyes kind of wander because they just start thinking about the times of Anton. I tried to hang on looks in the film, if you noticed…
I did notice. Jennifer Lawrence especially.
Drake Doremus: That was a great moment.
It almost looks therapeutic for them in a way.
Price: Absolutely. I love that you say that because I think it is. I think it’s why Chris sat for two and a half hours. I think it’s their first time to really express what they were feeling and share these stories they had with him, you know? You’re right, I think therapeutic is a good way to describe it.