‘Thoroughbred’ Director ‘Grateful’ for Chance to Work With the Late Anton Yelchin (Video)

Sundance 2017: Corey Finley tells TheWrap that Yelchin, who died in June 2016, was “a tremendous presence” on set

Originally conceived of as a stage play, “Thoroughbred,” the debut feature from writer-director Corey Finley, drew raves following its Sundance world premiere on Jan. 21 and was quickly snatched up for 5 million by Focus Features.

The noirish psychological drama looks at a dangerous friendship between two teenage girls, Olivia Cooke’s Amanda, who cannot feel real emotions, and Anya Taylor-Joy’s Lily, a prep school student outwardly perfect and inwardly fractured.

“Thoroughbred” is also notable as one of the final roles for Anton Yelchin, who died in a bizarreĀ automobile accident at his home in June 2016.

Yelchin came to the project versed in the genre and full of ideas, says director Finley, who called the “Star Trek” actorĀ “a tremendous presence on set.”

“He was just a tremendous presence on set, and really kind of expanded what that role meant in the film,” Finley told TheWrap. “The film sort of has neo-noir elements and he was just a huge student film noir.

“[He] came in with a ton of ideas about the character, and really I think urged everyone else to bring their A game,” the director continued. “I think that we’re all just grateful that we had the opportunity to work with him.”