It’s been six years since Zach Braff’s last directorial effort, Goes in styleand nearly ten years since his last film as a writer and director, I wish I was hereso it’s time for it to return to its function.
The original film of the sky A good person starring Florence Pugh as Alison, a young woman whose world is shattered when she survives a car accident that kills her future daughter-in-law.
While recovering from opioid addiction, Alison forms an unlikely friendship with her future father-in-law, Daniel (Morgan Freeman), which gives her a chance to rebuild her life and move on from her grief.
Writing the film during the pandemic allowed Braff to deal with his own grief for the people he lost, and the film’s release continued to help.
“I think it’s been really nice to share the film and see how people relate to it and react to it. Seeing people see themselves in the film and empathize with how I felt. A community that feels really cathartic and wonderful,” he said Digital spy.
Ahead A good personIt will be released in theaters on March 24 Digital spy sat down with Braff to talk about working with Pugh as a producer, reuniting with Morgan Freeman, and the mini-film Scrubs reunion.
This is your third time writing a feature film, what do you think, Zach Garden State could write A good person?
Zach Braff: No, because I was very young when I wrote Garden State. I was 25 years old and I was writing about how I felt at the time as a young man, about feeling (being) lost and not knowing what to do with my life.
This is a completely different period of my life. It’s about grief and getting back up after a tragedy, so it was inspired by things that I went through that I had yet to really go through in my youth.
You talked about how you wrote this movie for Florence, and she came on board as a producer. Did it change the film in unexpected ways for you?
Oh, yes, because Florence had very, very clever script notes. She wrote two songs that the hero performs in the film. She is a smart actress. She was really helpful in casting.
When I was choosing between two or three people, she would come up and say, “Of course it’s that person,” because she has great acting talent. Florence, the producer, was extraordinarily helpful in many ways.
You worked with Morgan Freeman before, did that help? It was a case of just calling him up and saying, ‘Hey Morgan, do you want to do another movie?’
(laughs) No, it wasn’t. But I didn’t think he’d say yes, because the first thing we did was a big studio comedy, and this was a small indie film, and Morgan doesn’t do a ton of those, so I didn’t know he’d say yes.
It helped guide him because we already had a friendship, we were already joking around. He’s intimidating, I mean, he’s Morgan Freeman. So I think I had a level of comfort with him that I wouldn’t have had.
We already had a relationship. He already trusted me from the previous film, so I think that allowed me to push him further in a way that I might not have had the courage to do if this was our first project.
He voices the movie within the movie, so was that already in the script or were you like, “I’ve got Morgan, I need a voiceover”?
(Laughs) It was actually in the script, but it’s funny when Morgan comes in, the voice-over is completely different.
There is a mini Scrubs reunion because you have Molly Shannon, who plays Florence’s mother, who was in My Last Chance, who you didn’t work with directly…
However, I scored this episode. Molly is mostly known as a comedic actress. She was one of the best SNL stars ever.
This is actually the first episode Scrubs I have ever been in charge. She was a guest star, and as a guest star, she only did comedy, but she had a dramatic arc. When I cast her, I realized that not only is Molly hilarious, but she also has great dramatic moments.
Finding humor in even the darkest moments and such is an innate human thing Scrubs done very often, this film also has humor in between the dark moments. Is it difficult to find that balance?
It’s all in the script. I think that’s really important, because otherwise I think, as a movie buff myself, if it’s too boring, you sort of fall out. This is too much to digest. Whereas when you add humor to everything, the audience feels relieved, and I think that’s very important.
Just like in life when you’re going through a really tough time and a friend or family member says something funny and you’re just so grateful for a belly laugh and you really need it.
I think that’s an important thing to do when writing about material like this.
We touched on that a little bit, but what do you hope the audience gets out of it A good person?
I hope they will see something from their lives in it. We are talking about a particularly difficult tragedy. Hopefully, most people haven’t faced something like this, but I hope they see something in their lives, picking themselves up after a really difficult time.
I mean, even something as universal as COVID, surviving this horrible period, falling behind and starting a new chapter. I hope people see themselves in it.
A good person opens in cinemas on March 24 and is available to watch on Sky Cinema from April 28.