‘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 bizarre¬†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” actor¬†“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.”