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Do I Look Like a Ghoul to You?

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Yelchin as Chekov in Star Trek.  

To process all these conflicted feelings, he’s shot dozens of hours of footage for an experimental film that mixes documentary scenes with fictional sequences. For the film, he’s interviewed homeless people, crosscut that with interviews of teenage mall-rat girls, and taped auditions with young actresses who later play his characters. He plays himself, a fictional version of himself, and a documentarian. There’s a homeless man named Ass Man, who wears a giant mask and speaks through the mask’s anus. He admits some of it came out “extremely chauvinistic”—like the time he asked an actress to “read this dialogue about wanting to suck the Ass Man’s cock. I thought it was fucking hilarious, but that’s so not cool.” The goal, he explains, was to explore the clash between commodification and identity—something a star has to think about a lot—“since the most important commodity in our culture is image.”

He has plans to enter the film in festivals. “It’ll be weird because it’s completely 180 from what anyone knows about how I think about things,” he says, but mostly he’s using the film to process the kind of obsessions that give him occasional paralyzing panic attacks. “I’m so paranoid,” he says. “I don’t trust people—partly because of my beliefs about this culture that everyone wants to be objectified and in some way consumed by someone else. It just freaks me out.”

He stops talking for just a few seconds, looks around this beautiful day, the college kids lolling in the grass, reading books, reordering playlists on their iPhones. “I mean, you see all those young, pretty girls,” he says. “At least one of them has some crazy, deep-dark weird shit that’s being contained by this capitalist façade. If you just crack through it, it becomes a sea of complete and utter darkness and just chaos. Which is what we are as people, I think.”


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