‘A Good Person’ director/writer Zach Braff dishes on meeting John Travolta, ‘Scrubs’ reunion & more


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CLEVELAND, Ohio — Addiction, abuse, love and death are the makings of an excellent drama.

That’s precisely what audiences can anticipate in the latest challenge from award-winning writer/director Zach Braff (“Garden State,” “Scrubs”).

Opening in theaters on Friday, “A Good Person” tells what has turn out to be an all-to-familiar tale primarily based on opioid dependancy and unresolved grief.

Allison (played by Braff’s ex-girlfriend Florence Pugh) is a younger woman with a shiny future, great fiancé, a blossoming career and supportive family and pals. She watches her world crumbles after she’s the lone survivor of an unimaginable tragedy.

Florence Pugh in A Good Person which opens Friday in theaters

Florence Pugh in “A Good Person,” which opens Friday in theaters. (Jeong Park/Metro Goldwyn Mayer Pictures)Metro Goldwyn Mayer Pictures

Attempting to find — let alone decide up — items of her life, Allison discovers an unlikely friendship together with her would-be father-in-law (Morgan Freeman). The movie additionally options Cleveland native Molly Shannon.

We recently caught up with the charming Braff to talk about this necessary story, meeting John Travolta, his well-liked “Scrubs” podcast, “Fake Doctors, Real Friends” and whether the tv show’s reunion is on the table.

Hello, Zach. Congrats on “A Good Person,” which is a heavy drama paying homage to films from the late ‘70s and early ‘80s.

I love these movies. My father showed me “Terms of Endearment” method too young within the theater. I bear in mind simply sobbing as a kid, however I additionally bear in mind laughing. I’ve always been drawn to that because that’s how I skilled life in a lot of methods. When I’ve had a number of the darkest moments in my life, and somebody says something probably inappropriate and funny, you simply start belly laughing. That’s the experience I’ve had as I’ve skilled grief and loss. So I type of wish to infuse the movie like that. A lot of those James Brooks movies — and so many others — that were a superb mixture of drama and comedy, that’s what I aspired to do.

The story has such weight. Writing-wise, what was the largest challenge?

The greatest problem was how to do all of it and make it palatable. I’ve seen some fantastic dramas the place I’m like, ‘Oh, my God, can there be a denouement? Can you let a little steam out of the steam engine for me, please?’ Those kinds of movies are just for a certain group of individuals. I actually have pals who would by no means see a straight, darkish, maudlin drama, though, I will. I assume the most important problem for me was how do I tell this story in a method that’s fascinating, visually attention-grabbing and has amazing music and likewise humor. It was the balance of all of these things — actually to tell a story about standing back up from tragedy that also was past just sorrowful.

(Left to right) Florence Pugh and Morgan Freeman in A Good Person which opens in theaters on Friday

(Left to right) Florence Pugh and Morgan Freeman in “A Good Person,” which opens in theaters on Friday. (Jeong Park/Metro Goldwyn Mayer Pictures)Metro Goldwyn Mayer Pictures

What drew you to the story?

I wanted to write about grief. I’ve experienced plenty of grief within the last 4 years of my life. I lost my sister and now I’ve misplaced my father after which in COVID I misplaced considered one of my best associates who was 41 years old. I’ve had plenty of years of this area and still have been on the front traces for friends. For instance, my friend’s widow and watching her with their baby and pondering, ‘Gosh, how is this girl going to stand up? How is she going to go on? Where do you begin?’ That’s what drew me to it.

Sometimes we forget as a result of we’re so near it that grief is love.

I’m going to steal that. And not only is grief love however what rescues one from it is finally love. That’s what this movie is about. If I had to decide one word, the movie is about love. In the macro, it’s a love story. But it’s additionally a love story, not just a romantic love story, between these two human beings who also — in a bizarre way — can’t be.

Florence Pugh in A Good Person which opens Friday in theaters

Florence Pugh in “A Good Person,” which opens Friday in theaters. (Jeong Park/Metro Goldwyn Mayer Pictures)Metro Goldwyn Mayer Pictures

Earlier you talked about music, which has turn out to be a trademark of your movies. Are you cognizant that discovering new artists in a Zach Braff movie is a thing?

Yeah, anytime I submit anything on social media, everyone is like, “I’m so excited for this soundtrack.” I’m all the time like, ‘Gosh, I hope I deliver for people.’ Even when I’m not in the midst of creating something, I have a mass of songs on playlists that had been like this may be awesome in a movie. You can have a song you love a lot that is your current favorite. Then you place it to picture and there’s no alchemy. There’s no magic. It’s a trial-and-error factor but you understand when it actually works as a outcome of all of a sudden, every hair on my arm will get up and I’ll simply know as a result of I’m having like a visceral response to these images with this music.

So a lot of your tasks, such as “Garden State,” are set in your native New Jersey. Why do you often return home to shoot?

I felt like if I needed to do something this uncooked and authentic, there was a bit of a safety internet inserting it in a spot I know so properly. For better or for worse, I wouldn’t get it incorrect. That’s my hometown. The pond is the pond I went to as a toddler with my remote-controlled boat. The highschool is my high school. The soccer area is where I took fitness center. I know what a New Jersey dive bar looks like. I knew what the random grownup using a BMX bike for some mysterious reason down the street looks like. I simply knew it. I knew the characters, I knew the world. Molly Shannon is a mother I met so many occasions in Jersey. So I simply felt like if I can get this proper, then I can layer my story and the characters on top of that setting however I’ll definitely get the setting right.

We have to ask about your recent Super Bowl industrial. Did you ever anticipate a mini- “Scrubs” reunion with Donald Faison to include an appearance by John Travolta?

No, after all not. It’s funny because John had so much enjoyable. During an interview to put it up for sale, John was like, “I actually assume the three of us had a lot chemistry — like we should always do an actual musical together.” I mentioned to the reporter, are you capable to make the headline of this text that John Travolta desires to do it as a result of Donald (Faison) and I are huge musical theater fans? That was just a fantastic thing to be part of. I by no means met him earlier than the industrial but he was so cool and really favored Donald and me. We had him laughing all day lengthy. Of course, I’d like to work with him — and the idea of doing a musical with him is fairly wonderful.

Finally, that is the obligatory part of the interview asking when fans will finally get the “Scrubs” reunion.

It’s simply up to (show creator) Bill Lawrence. He’s so swamped with a brand new Vince Vaughn show called “Bad Monkey.” Now “Shrinking” has turn out to be a huge hit and just received picked up for season 2, to not point out the opposite issues he has in growth. So we’d like him. I’m positive every single actor can be down for it. I don’t think any of us wish to do a full collection but a restricted run or 10 episodes or a movie. I just saw “Monk” is doing a film. It’s simply we have to wrangle Mr. Lawrence. I’m continually shocked at how much love there’s for “Scrubs.” The podcast (“Fake Doctors, Real Friends”) that we do has essentially the most insane listenership, globally. It simply exhibits you how much-continued love there might be for this present.


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