In the new Star Trek movie, rebooting the franchise with all new actors playing the original Enterprise crew, Anton Yelchin is the new Chekov. Reinterpreting Walter Koenig‘s Russian starship lieutenant required some interesting linguistic decisions on Yelchin’s part.
“The thing is about Walter Koenig was his accent was interesting,” said Yelchin. “I think I’m just going to leave it at interesting. All of us had to make the choice of what we wanted to take from the original and what we wanted to bring to it. There are certain things that I took, from the fact that he replaced every V with a W which is weird. I don’t really know where that decision came from but regardless that’s the decision that he made and I thought it was important to bring that to the character.”
If he can nail that down, Yelchin has done Chekov proud and should have free reign to do whatever else he wants with the character. “I talked to J.J. [Abrams] a lot about what he wanted. His thing was we’re not making something that’s supposed to be the old Star Trek. He’s making his own movie but there is a bit of, like, I think people want to see what they love so we’re all trying to find things that will remind people of the old characters. So it’s been interesting picking up on little things.”
As for finding opportunities to say the line “But Ceepteen, the Kleengons are approaching,” Yelchin has spent most of his time on the ship. “Chekov is just on the Enterprise. A lot of it is green screen. I mean, the Enterprise itself, J.J.’s trying to shoot as much of it as he can with out green screen, but I think a lot of space is obviously green screen — what I’m looking at while seeing the Klingon warships.”
Star Trek hits theaters Christmas 2008.