Anton Yelchin Talks 5 to 7—and Romancing a Bond Girl Onscreen
What are we willing to do for love?
It's the thought-provoking question posed by Anton Yelchin's character in the upcoming indie flick 5 to 7 (in theaters today), which tells the story of an aspiring writer named Brian (Yelchin) who enters a relationship with a French mother of two, Arielle (Bérénice Marlohe). But there's one small catch: Due to Arielle's marital status, and the mutual agreement she made with her diplomat husband, Brian is only permitted to see the object of his affection between the hours of 5 and 7 each night.
Yet due to the outpouring of feelings that flow between the two star-crossed lovers since they first catch eyes outside Manhattan's St. Regis Hotel, neither can resist engaging in a steamy, drawn-out affair, despite the less-than-stellar circumstances, and manage to fall more deeply in love than either ever thought possible. More romantic than The Graduate, and equally as heartbreaking as Yelchin's 2011 tearjerker Like Crazy, 5 to 7 shows firsthand the dangerous consequences people can potentially face when they unexpectedly fall in love.
We chatted with Yelchin about the film, working with Bond-girl Marlohe, and what he typically does between the hours of 5 and 7. Here's an excerpt from our conversation:
How did this project come about?
It was a pretty standard process for me. Victor [Levin] sent me a script, and I read it—apparently he had attached a letter to it that I actually never received. When we met the first time, he paraphrased the whole thing for me.
What did the letter say?
A lot of kind words that I probably don’t deserve. He was coaxing me into doing the film with kindness, but I liked the script so much right away that I wanted to do it without even meeting him. I had such a visceral reaction to it, and I feel like if you respond to a film that way, you should do it.
What was it like cozying up to Bérénice?
When you first meet her, she’s just so beautiful and so striking that inevitably you’re intimidated, but within moments of speaking to her, you’re overwhelmed by how warm and kind and open she is. I don’t know that there are as many people in this profession that are as genuine as Bérénice. There’s no performance to her at all. She makes you feel great about being yourself, and that creates an incredible level of comfort in forging a relationship.
Have you ever pursued an older woman yourself?
I tend to experience age gaps, but I’ve never experienced married women. I’ve definitely never been in a "5 to 7” relationship. I’m looking forward to all of that [laughs]. For me, the most challenging thing was trying to understand why Brian was so conservative in the beginning of the film. He’s confronted with something that I would be more open to—not necessary adultery, but if someone says to you, "Look, this is what me and my husband do." There’s so much genuine affection in Bérénice, I wouldn’t be as judgmental [as Brian was].
That may be due to his overbearing Jewish mother.
It’s his upbringing, for sure. I think Frank [Langella] and Glenn [Close] are wonderful. I don’t want to lean too heavy on the Jewish parents stereotype, but there’s definitely some truth to that.
What do you typically do between the hours of 5 and 7? Besides have a torrid love affairs.
I nap and dream about torrid love affairs.
The main themes that the film seems to be exploring are love and financial security.
I think the film takes place in a sort of fantasyland, and it allows itself to embrace certain fetishes of New York. There’s a certain kind of ethos embodied by a certain kind of New York, which makes it seem like a bit of a fairytale, and I think all romance films are really. When one is involved with someone romantically, there is always an element of fantasy, where everyone is involved in his or her own world.
Part of me expected that Brian would end up with Olivia Thirlby’s character.
It didn’t really surprise me [that they didn't end up together]. Everything pointed to theirs being a platonic relationship, and I think that Brian is respectful of things of that nature. I will say that the idea is to guide the audience in thinking this is something that could be a great relationship: they’re the same age, same interests, same sense of humors, they could theoreticallybe together, but I think that Vic’s idea was that it just doesn’t work that way. Things don’t always turn out as planned. You fall in love with who you fall in love with.
Watch the trailer for 5 to 7 below, and catch the movie in theaters today.