When attending the Disney Oz The Great and Powerful Red Carpet event, I had the opportunity to interview Zach Braff. Talk about my favorite interview EVER! I left leaving that interview thinking that I wanted to be best friends with Zach. He was really the most down to earth person I have interviewed! I felt like he was a friend instead of celebrity. Like we can go hang out tomorrow. I know it sounds silly, but in all sincerity, what a man with awesome personality!
My husband and I have always watched Scrubs & we both loved Garden State. When I found out I would be interviewing him as part of my press trip, I was VERY excited for this interview. I am so glad I wasn’t let down!
As he walked in we probably had about 20 voice recorders or cell phones sitting on the table so that we can go back and listen to our interview. Zach decided he wanted to take a picture of all of our devices, it did look really funny. He sat at a table looking like a cell phone dealer with second hand devices :).
I knew Zach liked to tweet. Prior to the interview, my goofiness spiked out (before I knew it was time to get serious), I suggested we start the hashtag #FlyingMonkey. By mid interview, it was trending. I felt the need to ask, Zach, how he felt that we had #FlyingMonkey trending on twitter. His look was priceless. It was like a little boy who just opened up his first video game that he didn’t expect to get from Santa. During the interview, he made me laugh so much, I had to control my tears!
While playing Finley, the flying monkey side kick to Oscar Diggs, in the movie Oz The Great and Powerful….Zach steals the show. The entire time I loved and at times felt sorry for Finley. The second time I went to go see the movie, I loved him even more! It isn’t just me who loves him…this was my husband’s favorite character as well. My 3 year old has only seen clips of the movie and she also loves Finley! Check out this video of her talking about wanting to meet him.
(Zach walks into the room and notices our phone collection.)
ZACH BRAFF : Yeah, you guys know I’m pretty active on there, myself. Sorry. moms, that I sometimes say inappropriate things. [LAUGHTER]
Q : During the production you’re in this little tiny black booth?
ZACH BRAFF : Yeah, that’s one of the ways we did it. Sometimes, by the end we had three pretty solid ways that we did it. Sometimes I was like just scrunched down like in this blue screen onesie [LAUGHTER] which is really adorable and for six months no matter how many times I put it on, everyone pointed and laughed at me [LAUGHTER] and so I sat on my butt and kinda hunched over, I was thirty-six inches tall. And so I’d do that, Sam wanted me to, he wanted to capture everything.
Q : What was one of your most memorable moments during filming?
ZACH BRAFF : I love the moment when we find China Girl and James is putting her back together. Because it genuinely was so moving. I mean, even on set, it was so moving. We were on all these giant sets and for the first time we were literally sitting and it was so surreal. We were literally sitting in a tea kettle and it was James and Joey King and the puppeteer.
They had this beautiful, marionette puppet, because she was small enough that she could actually have a marionette puppet. It was just so sweet and beautiful. And I actually had my eyes welled – that’s when I discovered that I wanted the monkey to almost be like an easy crier. [LAUGHTER] My eyes really genuinely welled and I was like, Sam, well let’s have him like covertly- he doesn’t want Oz to see that he’s crying, so let’s have him covertly swipe the tear. And then they kept in the movie, it was really sweet.
Q : Aw. What was the most challenging part?
ZACH BRAFF : I think, you know, I, I was nervous the whole time, like I’m here for so long and working so hard. Are they going to capture all that I’m doing, you know. As an actor you go, okay, it’s my face, so they can’t get around that, you kno… when all that you’re doing is really reference for an animator. I’m nervous to put my name it if it’s not going to capture all the little things I’m trying to do.
…At the premier I finally saw, and for the first time, fully photo-real and realized, and it was so exciting for me. Because it really did, little subtle face ticks, and things I never would have thought they would have picked up in the eyes. That made me really happy, that they got it all.
Q : You were the comedy, and that’s what kids really respond to, what’s your feeling about doing this for kids?
ZACH BRAFF : Well I did do Chicken Little…I have nieces and nephews, I don’t have any of my own yet, but I love kids and the idea- I’ve already scored that stuffed animal and, uh, it’s really cute, you’ll love it.
Q : I slept with it.
ZACH BRAFF : So did my nephew. I have a twelve-year-old nephew right and I swear you guys will love this story as moms. I have a twelve-year-old nephew and I walk in and his sister couldn’t come out from Florida for the premier, but he did. And I said I want you to give this your sister (who is eight). I said, I want you to give this to Ella because she didn’t get to come out. And he goes, yeah-yeah-yeah I’ll give it to her, and he’s sleeping on my couch. I walk in to come here this morning, and he’s totally spooning it [LAUGHTER] and I’m like, there’s no way Ella is getting that stuffed animal. Actually it was funny he goes- I want you to give this to Ella, he goes, yeah-yeah-yeah we’ll share it, and I was like, no-no-no it’s for Ella. [LAUGHTER] So I told my publicist I need like a box of those things. One is not going to do.
Q : What was it like going from Scrubs to playing Finley?
ZACH BRAFF : Well it helped [LAUGHTER] I had a wide range, the physical comedy from Scrubs helps and also the improvisational stuff, ’cause on Scrubs what we would do is, you know, the rule was, hey, do one. Once we have one as written, you guys can play around. And- and- and come up with stuff. And that really a lot of the stuff people loved, came out of us improving on Scrubs. And on this movie it was so big, I was like, they’re not going to have time for any of that. But Sam really wanted that, he’s like, I want you and James to riff.
I want you to find those new jokes and- and so we, I was really glad that, you know, Scrubs was kind of great training ground, to be able to do this.
Q : How do you prepare for a role like a monkey?
ZACH BRAFF : I did actually go to the Detroit Zoo. [LAUGHTER] Um, and I stumbled across two monkeys, um, let’s just say in intimate embrace [LAUGHTER] um, none of that proved useful [LAUGHS] maybe for the sequel I don’t know if the monkey gets a girlfriend or not. It worked creating a creature from scratch. He looks like a monkey but he flies and he talks like a human. So it really wasn’t too much monkey research to be done.
Q : SO there wasn’t a lot of monkey business? [LAUGHTER]
ZACH BRAFF : You have me on record saying there was little monkey business. [LAUGHTER] [MAKES NOISE] wow, this is for cords? No. [LAUGHTER] Sorry, go.
Q : How do you feel about flying monkey trending on Twitter?
ZACH BRAFF : Is it? No it’s not because of you guys? [LAUGHTER] You guys are such scary power. You know, it’s so funny- congratulations. Wow, you guys- you guys can band together for good. That’s really cool. That’s a lot of power. I’m going to get on there and re-tweet it. Anything else?
Q : What was the audition process?
ZACH BRAFF : Uh, Sam asked me to come in and I didn’t know that I would have read, ’cause I, I would have auditioned. But he didn’t even want me to audition. He just kinda wanted to talk and I went on. I went in his room and he had a really- a really rough animatic, really like the pre-visualization stuff, you guys are savvy, you know that. So, um, that’s what it was, it was that sequence where we’re running off the cliff and right before we go into the bubbles, where I jump off. And the monkey didn’t have any lines.
And he said, so here’s an example. We have this scene, we want someone who can kinda come to the set and figure out who this guy is with me and James. He showed me the animation and I was watching it and I saw him jump off and Oz says, what are you doing, you’re jumping off. And I just went, I have wings. [LAUGHTER] And Sam just started dying laughing and I was like, I guess that’s a good sign. [LAUGHTER] So that’s how it started. And I found out when I got home I got the gig, ’cause I made the director laugh.
And that’s what he wanted, he wanted someone that could sit there and go, oh what if I said this. And I said, Sam, I promise you this, I’m going to drive you crazy, I’m going to pitch a thousand ideas, but just take what you like and leave the rest. No hard feelings. And there’d be plenty of times where we’d be on set and I’d be like, oh what if this da-da-da-da-da-da all excited and he’d be like, that’s hysterical, but it’s not called The Monkey. Maybe when we make the movie, The Monkey, we can do that elaborate scene you just pitched. So maybe, who knows, the sequel.
Q : Garden State compared to here?
ZACH BRAFF : Well, um, the budget of Garden State was the- the chewing gum budget of this movie…I said, imagine going from a kayak to a cruise ship, although we shouldn’t reference cruise ships today. Most of my work has been smaller films and, and the TV show. So for me this was thrilling just to even be on set, I love movies so much, and just to be there, on this, what I think is a pretty historic experience. Just to be on set was, was a dream.
Q : How would you like to take a quick group photo?
ZACH BRAFF : I would love to. It’ll be trending on Twitter. God, I wish all the other movies were this fun…sit in a boring room. Come around, moms because I’m tall.
I met a whole bunch of awesome moms who blog about mom things: twitter.com/zachbraff/stat…
— Zach Braff (@zachbraff) February 19, 2013
(Zach also asked his publicist to take a picture for him too)
Later he tweeted out the picture of all us moms! Of course we LOVED it, and were very excited to interact with such a funny guy!
Oz The Great and Powerful has already made 100 million dollar and is #1 movie in the box office right now! I hope you get a chance to see it in 3D at the movies!!!