By Oliver Lyttelton | www.oliverlyttelton.com February 8, 2011 at 2:13AM
It's been clear ever since his debut in the otherwise weak "Hearts in Atlantis" that Anton Yelchin was destined to be a pretty big star. Across films like "Alpha Dog," "Fierce People," "Charlie Bartlett" and the unjustly neglected TV series "Huff," Yelchin's blended nerdiness and charisma with ease, and he's moved into tentpole territory in recent years with the only performance with a pulse in "Terminator: Salvation," and as part of the ensemble in J.J. Abrams' "Star Trek."
The actor has got a busy 2011 ahead of him, with the indie "Like Crazy" proving to be the talk of Sundance, and leading roles both in Jodie Foster's "The Beaver" and the remake of "Fright Night" on the way, and, according to Shock Till You Drop, he's just signed on to a new film from an established blockbuster helmer; unfortunately, not one of the good ones. The site reports that the 21-year-old actor is the first one on board "Odd Thomas," the adaptation of the Dean Koontz novel currently being prepped by Stephen Sommers, director of "The Mummy" and "G.I. Joe."
The book follows the titular Thomas, a young short-order cook who's able to see the dead, who encounters a mysterious man he suspects may be involved in an upcoming atrocity, and, while Shock Til You Drop doesn't confirm which role Yelchin will play, it seems fairly likely that he will take the lead. The film is being independently produced on a $47 million budget, with a script from Sommers himself, and with Koontz planning six novels, it's being eyed as a potential franchise.
While we're big fans of Yelchin, we're less than enthused about this news. Sommers wasn't a terrible director at the start of his career -- unpretentious B-movie "Deep Rising" is something of a guilty pleasure of ours -- but he has gotten systematically worse as time has gone on, with his last three films ("The Mummy Returns," "Van Helsing" and "G.I. Joe: The Rise Of Cobra") being virtually unwatchable. While we're not acquainted with the source material, it seems like it's a tricky mix of tones that we're not confident Sommers can pull off.
Sommers is currently in pre-production, and we imagine it'll have to go before cameras fairly swiftly in order for Yelchin to meet his commitment on the sequel to "Star Trek," which is set to film in the summer. More casting news will follow shortly, we imagine.