Zach Braff stars in this week's new release Oz the Great and Powerful, but don't expect to see too much of his likeness on the screen. After the short opening sequence in Kansas, Braff spends the rest of the film as an animated flying monkey named Finley. At the film's press day, I chatted with Braff about the "onesie" he had to wear for the blue-screen work, getting into character, and why he spent a lot of time on set in a "torture chamber."
Like many characters in Oz the Great and Powerful, Zach Braff plays two roles: a magician's assistant named Frank and — once we get to Oz — an animated flying monkey named Finley. When I visited the set of the film last year, Braff talked about what it was like playing a different kind of flying monkey than what we're used to seeing and why spending time on the gorgeous set was a dream come true for him as a filmmaker.
Can you clue us in a little just to the personality of your two characters? Are you the doormat character?
Zach Braff: "Doormat" is a good way to put it. As Frank, he [Oz] is the magician and I'm his magician’s assistant, and I want acceptance by him, because I look up to him and he is very dismissive and condescending to me and makes it clear he has no interest in being my friend; he just wants a helper. Then we are forced to go on this journey together, and Finley is assigned to sort of look out over Oz by Rachel Weisz's character, so begrudgingly we go on this quest together, and little by little he [Oz] can't help but be charmed by this little flying monkey.
And as the monkey, you speak?
ZB: Yes, but not right away. . . . For a fair part of it he thinks I'm mute, and when push comes to shove, I have to speak and we become friends. . . . We have a story arc where he is actually able to learn from me and trust me and, in the end, be my friend and give me something that I really wanted in a human incarnation, which was friendship and his acceptance. So it's done really, really well, and it's really cool.
Can you talk about your first scenes in the movie that take place in Kansas?
ZB: It was a really, really fun way to start the movie. I was a human being, which was fun. I had period clothes like James, and I had like period sideburns and my hair is sort of slicked over and we are doing the beginning of a tornado, so they have these giant wind machines going and hundreds of extras running around in mayhem. It's hackneyed to keep saying the word "surreal," but it's just so bizarre. There you are, and there's a wind storm and there are people in turn-of-the-century circus costumes running by you, and those tumbleweeds flying, and Sam yelling on a megaphone, and eventually James's character gets into this hot air balloon and they have the basket flying across the stage, and it was a really, really fun thing to be a part of.
To see what Braff had to say about signing on and being a film geek, just read more
Zach Braff takes on double duty in Disney's Oz the Great and Powerful by playing two characters: a magician's assistant and a CGI monkey named Finley. Many of his scenes are with James Franco, and according to Zach, the two actors had six months' worth of improvising that kept them laughing on set. Zach's Scrubs costar Donald Faison was also on hand at the premiere to support his friend, even jumping into our interview for a hug. Oz the Great and Powerful is in theaters March 8.
Director Sam Raimi gave audiences a sneak peek to his epic new film, Oz: The Great and Powerful, at this year's Comic-Con, but now we're treated to the full-length trailer. The teaser gave us a good feel for the film's whimsical aesthetic, but the new preview sheds some light on the Wizard of Oz prequel's actual plot. Shady magician Oz (James Franco) gets plopped into the Emerald City and is tasked with saving the land of Oz. Though he strives to do something great with his life, Oz is unsure if he can live up to the expectations of those depending on him, like witchy sisters Theodora (Mila Kunis) and Evanora (Rachel Weisz) and the luminous Glinda (Michelle Williams). If he succeeds, the kingdom, and all its riches, are his.
In short: this movie looks astounding. Raimi is doing it in 3D and I can't wait to be smack in the middle of the Emerald City — talking dolls, flying monkeys, and all. I'm especially curious to see the Wicked Witch 2.0; that flash of her fiery appearance at the end is chilling. I like that he's balancing the scary factor with a little bit of humor; I got in a chuckle at the munchkin part. Oz: The Great and Powerful hits theaters March 8, and you can watch the trailer after the jump.
Kate Hudson, wrapped in a Pringle of Scotland sweater, was back in London last night and ventured out to the Duke of York Theatre to attend a stage production of Zach Braff's All New People. The actors have been friends for years and Zach was even at Kate's 30th birthday party back in 2009.
It's been a busy week full of jet setting for Kate. She recently returned to her part-time home in the UK following a romantic getaway in Mexico with fiancé Matthew Bellamy. Kate and Matt relaxed on the beach in Cancun and played football with their superstar friends like Leonardo Dicaprio and Naomi Campbell. The engaged couple are splitting their time between the West Coast and London while his band Muse puts the finishing touches on their sixth album. Meanwhile, Zach's time overseas may wrap up next month since his play finishes out its 10 week run on April 28.
Best friends and former Scrubs stars Zach Braff and Donald Faison spent New Year's Eve snorkeling off the coast of Maui with their respective ladies, Taylor Bagley and CaCee Cobb. The girls, Donald, and Zach landed on the island last week and spent their afternoon lounging close to their resort on the beach and at the pool. It's been a few seasons since Scrubs left the airwaves, and since then, the guys have moved on to new projects. Zach recently wrapped his role in Oz: The Great and Powerful, while Donald shot a comedy for TV Land, Exes, in addition to planning his upcoming wedding to CaCee.
Zach Braff and his girlfriend, Taylor Bagley, joined Donald Faison and fiancée CaCee Cobb for a walk on the beach in Hawaii on Sunday. The Scrubs costars remain close friends and brought their lovely ladies along for the tropical holiday double date. Before heading to the island, Donald and Zach recorded a hilarious version of "Baby, It's Cold Outside" set on a gorgeous sunny LA day, which CaCee shared on Twitter on Christmas day. It was a romance-filled 2011 for longtime loves CaCee and Donald — the two announced their engagement in August and are capping off the year with this sweet getaway alongside some of their closest companions.