Zach Braff
Photo courtesy of Zach Braff

Zach Braff: Thinking outside the box

by Jennifer Cott

Zach Braff and I met 9 years ago at the wedding of his agent, who is also my best friend. After having already achieved success as J.D. on the series Scrubs, four years into his nine year run on the series, he took on the ambitious job of producing, writing, directing, and starring in his debut film, Garden State, for which he received both critical and audience raves! That film had just opened that weekend.

I had a chance to catch up with Zach not too long ago. Zach started cutting his own path early on. Zach comes from a family of doctors, therapists, and lawyers, so I was eager to ask him what first inspired him to pursue acting. Much to my surprise it was his father, an attorney, who introduced him to acting when he watched his father do community theater as a hobby. He also exposed Zach to Broadway theater as well (a great advantage of living on the east coast). Acting spoke to Zach, and he decided to follow that route.

I asked how his life changed since his success. Zach laughed saying “Not much really. I have an extra apartment, but that’s about it.” He explained that he tries to be the same person he’s always been. Outside of the business, he enjoys being with his friends and family, as well as traveling and photography. A big animal lover, he enjoys being with his dogs, of which he has two. He explained that because he is bicoastal, he has two small dogs that he can easily bring on planes with him. But, Zach says that if he were home more, he would have a fleet. I understand that feeling, having had my Labrador retriever certified as a service dog. I can bring her on planes so I am never without her.

Though I realize that I am no Jimmy Lipton, and this is far from Inside the Actor’s Studio, I couldn’t resist asking Zach ‘If heaven exists, what would you like to hear G-d say when you arrive at The Pearly Gates’?

Much to my surprise, he took me seriously, and gave me a straight answer. ‘I know you didn’t believe this was real, but aren’t you so happy it is’.

Zach has been trying to repeat his Garden State endeavor with another film called Wish I Was Here. After having proved himself with the first film, you would think that pitching another wouldn’t be quite as challenging. Well, think again.

But Zach doesn’t wait for a film – he makes one. After going to Kickstarter and launching a campaign on the internet to raise funds, he has now raised enough money needed for his film, which he also wrote, is directing, producing and stars in. Zach recently began production on the picture.

I asked Zach to pick five adjectives to describe himself. He said grateful, silly, appreciative, driven, and loving. While all the qualities are great, I think driven certainly applies here.

Jennifer Cott

About Jennifer Cott

Jennifer Cott lives in New York and has spent over a decade in the entertainment business. She attended the University of Southern California, after which she entered the film and television field in the New York office of International Creative Management. She then returned to Los Angeles to join the staff of Creative Artists Agency. She also ran her own management company for several years. Jennifer has been a film critic and commentator, and entertainment consultant.

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