Anton Yelchin is best known for playing ensign Pavel Chekov in the current generation of "Star Trek" movies, but he really shines playing romantic leads.

The 26 year old anchored the sweet and observant "Like Crazy" in 2011, opposite Felicity Jones. Beginning Friday, he's starring in "5 to 7," a classical NYC tale with a distinct Woody Allen vibe about a young, struggling writer who begins an affair with the beautiful wife of a French diplomat.

"There's a certain class of people involved in the film that is socioeconomically relevant really to New York City," Yelchin says when asked about the role New York plays in the film. "The world of diplomats of the Upper East Side. You don't have that in Los Angeles. There's a geopolitical specificity to where the characters come from and why they think a certain way."

The movie, from director Victor Levin, is that rare modern-day artistic effort that makes a point of slowing things down, through a meditative sensibility characterized by long takes that give scenes room to breathe.

"You can just see how that moment would unfold, as it would," Yelchin says. "There's still the weirdness of having lines and things. It's challenging too, because you're not saved by a cut. You just have to keep going."

There are plenty of cuts in the "Star Trek" movies, of course. The third entry is set to begin filming soon for release next year. Working on such a huge franchise has been a profound educational experience for Yelchin, who aspires to direct someday.

"On a large film, if you love movies, the technical aspect is awe-inspiring," he says with excitement. "That's my film school, really. It's how I learn my understanding of cinema and how it gets accomplished."