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The crazy talent of Jennifer Lawrence and Anton Yelchin

June 17, 2010 |  8:45 am

Wint
EXCLUSIVE: You'd be hard-pressed to find two hotter -- or better -- young actors than Jennifer Lawrence and Anton Yelchin.

Yelchin has been high on every studio’s wish list since his versatile turns in “Terminator Salvation” and “Star Trek” last summer (he's a lead contender, for example, to play the young Peter Parker in Sony's "Spider-Man" reboot). Lawrence, meanwhile, is turning heads with her role in "Winter's Bone," and justly so. Her performance as a sensitive but fierce girl who goes on the hunt for her missing father in a meth-addled stretch of the backcountry Ozarks is far and away the best performance we've seen in a released movie this year.

Now the two will double their pleasure by starring in an indie romantic drama called "Like Crazy."
There had been some Web rumors about the project. Here's the scoop.

Yelchin and Lawrence, who teamed up in the upcoming off-kilter Mel Gibson dramedy "The Beaver," here play young college students who fall in love at first sight. They then go their separate ways for years, before a dramatic (and complicated) reunion. The film brings together the creative team behind the Sundance breakout "Douchebag." Jonathan Schwartz, who wrote and produced "Douchebag,"  is producing "Like Crazy" through his emerging and active Crispy Films banner; Drake Doremus, "Douchebag's" director, is directing it; and Doremus and Ben York Jones (who starred and associate produced "Douchebag") are writing the script.

This one isn't a comedy like "Douchebag," but it does engage with similar themes of romantic destiny and what we do to achieve it. "It's about the irrational choices you sometimes make for first love," Schwartz says.

The film has just started shooting in Southern California, with an especially solid cast forming around Lawrence and Yelchin. Felicity Jones, the British actress who played Anne Frank in a television miniseries and also will star in the upcoming Ricky Gervais-directed "Cemetery Junction," co-stars.

Taking on a small part is Chris Messina, the actor who can't hit a wrong note (he came to our attention on the fifth season of "Six Feet Under" and has since had roles in "Julie & Julia" (he was Amy Adams' husband), "Greenberg" and others. Oh, and for the kids: Charlie Bewley, who plays the vampire Demetri in the upcoming "Eclipse," also has a turn.

Some film fans like to lament that acting increasingly takes a back seat to effects in contemporary Hollywood. And there's an equally robust complaint about the shallow pool of young actors with the versatility and nuance to match their older counterparts. But when actors like Yelchin and Lawrence come along, it's hard to believe in any of that. The best part? Their combined age is younger than George Clooney or Brad Pitt. So we'll be reaping the benefits of their talent for a long time to come.

--Steven Zeitchik

http://twitter.com/ZeitchikLAT

Photo: Jennifer Lawrence in '"Winter's Bone." Credit: Roadside Pictures.



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