Not many actor make their big screen debut as the lead in a film where Lili Taylor shares the marquis. But Silas Yelich got that chance when he was tapped for the role of Atticus in The Cold Lands.
Yelich scored the gig based largely on geography. He lives in the same New York town as director Tom Gilroy. “I was doing a play, and then he came up to me and liked my face or something,” Yelich recalls. “He told me if I ever wanted to be in the film to tell him. I thought he was a rapist or something.”
We’ll assume that’s teenage humor. Gilroy, for what it’s worth, tells the story with less lecherous undertones.
“His sister was in a play at this church,” he said. “I had auditioned a bunch of kids that I was just not not sold on. But then I met Silas and I thought, ‘this could work.’ ”
After trying Yelich out for the gig, the young actor got the job, and on Sarasota walked the red carpet for the first time into a film where he stars.
While Lili Taylor, who plays Atticus’ mother, is the source of most of the publicity around the film, Yelich in fact is the one who has a role in nearly every scene. The move follows the story of Atticus from a life as progeny of a mother who preaches a reverence for living off the land to one of an orphan whose mother dies because of an aversion to modern medicine. By the end, Atticus is searching out his own ways to survive in the world.
“I was pretty nervous obviously, because this was my first film,” Yelich said.
The Cold Lands screened Thursday, April 11, and plays again Saturday, April 13, at 7pm.