October 2, 2002 Scrubs: Dr. Cox: Now, would you like me to call you a cab, or should I just whistle and have the flying monkeys bring the broom around?
As I recall during the Scrubs years, the script referred to monkeys a LOT. Perhaps it was a premonition of what was to come….
Q : During the production you’re in this little tiny black booth?
ZACH BRAFF: Yeah, that’s one of the ways we did it. By the end we had three pretty solid ways that we did it, sometimes I was just scrunched down like in this blue screen Onesie which is really adorable and for six months no matter how many times I put it on, everyone pointed and laughed at me, so I sat on my butt and kinda hunched over, I was thirty-six inches tall. Sam wanted to capture everything, gestures and facial expressions.
Other times there was a puppet that I would kind of operate when he needed to be like flying and stuff. Then there’s times when I couldn’t be there at all, and I’d be in this booth with cameras all around me. James would be looking at a monitor that was on a pole. He’d get the tiny ear piece in his ear, and that’s how we could do it, ’cause Sam’s biggest thing was, I don’t want you in a sound booth at the end of the shoot. I want you there. I want you and James improvising, I want it to be two buddies on a road trip.
I think that made such a difference. Because it wasn’t just this character that got phoned in at the end, it really was this important relationship.
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 literally sitting in a tea kettle and it was James and, 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 that I actually had my eyes welled, that’s when I discovered that I wanted the monkey to almost be like an easy crier, and then they kept in the movie, it was really sweet.
Q : Aw. What was the most challenging part?
ZACH BRAFF : 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,. As an actor you go, okay, it’s my face, so they can’t get around that, when all that you’re doing is really reference for an animator, I was nervous. Like, are they going to capture the subtleties in this?
At the premier I finally saw the fully photo-real 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: What was it like going from Scrubs to playing Finley?
ZACH BRAFF: Well it helped. I had a wide range, the physical comedy from Scrubs helps, and also the improvisational stuff, ’cause on Scrubs what we would do is, do one and once we have one as written, you guys can play around and come up with stuff. On this movie it was so big, I thought 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.
Q : How do you prepare for a role like a monkey?
ZACH BRAFF: I did actually go to the Detroit Zoo and I stumbled across two monkeys, let’s just say in intimate embrace. None of that proved useful, maybe for the sequel I don’t know if the monkey gets a girlfriend or not but, it worked well creating a creature from scratch, I mean, 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 : Garden State compared to Oz?
ZACH BRAFF : Well, the budget of Garden State was the chewing gum budget of this movie. I’ve only made one movie and people said what was the experience like? I said, imagine going from aa kayak to a cruise ship. Most of my work has been smaller films 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 I think is a pretty historic experience.
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This post was facilitated as a result of a press junket. All opinions are strictly my own