It’s been six years since Zach Braff’s last directorial effort. Walk in styleand almost a decade since his last film as script-director, Wish I was hereso it’s time for him to make his feature comeback.
Sky original movie A good person Florence Pugh stars as Allison, a young woman whose world falls apart when she survives a car accident that kills her future sister-in-law.
Recovering from an opioid addiction, Allison forms an unlikely friendship with her future father-in-law Daniel (Morgan Freeman), giving her a chance to put her life back together and move on from her grief.
Writing the film during the pandemic allowed Braff to work through his own grief for the people he lost, and the release of the film has continued to help.
“I think it’s been a really good feeling to share the film and see people relate to it and react to it. To see people see themselves in the film and empathize with the way I felt. The community of it feels really mind-blowing and wonderful,” he shared Digital Spy.
In front of A good person‘s premiere 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 film’s mini Scrubs reunion.
This is the third time you’ve written a feature film, you think Zach The garden state could have written A good person?
Zach Braff: No, because I was so young when I wrote The garden state. I was 25 years old and I wrote about what I felt then as a young man, feelings of (being) lost and not knowing what to do with my life.
This is about a very different time in my life. It’s about grief and coming forward after tragedy, so it was inspired by things I was going through that I hadn’t really experienced yet as a young man.
You’ve talked about how you wrote this film for Florence and she came on board as a producer. Did it change the film in any surprising ways for you at all?
Oh yeah, because Florence had really, really smart script notes. She wrote two songs that the character performs in the film. She is a skilled actress. She was really helpful with casting.
When I had to choose between two or three people, she would come in and go, ‘It’s so obvious that person’ because she has such a great eye for acting talent. In so many ways, Florence, the producer, was extraordinarily helpful.
You’ve worked with Morgan Freeman before, did that help? Was it a case of just calling him up and going, ‘Hey Morgan, do you want to do another movie?’
(laughs) No, it wasn’t like that. But I didn’t think he’d say yes, because the first thing we did was a big studio comedy, and this was a tiny little indie film, and Morgan doesn’t do a ton of those, so I didn’t know he’d say yes .
It helped direct him because we already had a friendship, we already had a banter. He’s scary, I mean, he’s Morgan Freeman. So I think I had a comfort level 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 it was our first project.
He’s doing a voiceover in the film, so was that already in the script or were you like, ‘I’ve got Morgan on board, I need a voiceover’?
(laughs) It was actually in the script, but it’s funny when Morgan comes on, the voiceover takes it to a whole other level.
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…
I did direct that episode though. Molly is best known as a comedic actress. She was one of the best SNL stars ever.
It’s actually the first episode of Scrubs I have ever directed. She was the guest star, and as a guest star she only did comedy, but she had a dramatic arc. I knew when I cast her that Molly is not only funny, but she has absolutely amazing dramatic chops.
It is an innate human thing to find humor even in the darkest moments and the like Scrubs did very often, this film also has the humor in between the darker moments. Is it hard to find that balance?
It’s all in the script. I think that’s crucial, because otherwise, as a film lover myself, I think that if it’s too embarrassing, then zone out. It’s too much to digest. Whereas if you pepper humor throughout, the audience is relieved, and I think that’s really important.
Like in life when you’re going through really tough times and a friend or family member says something funny and you’re just so grateful for the belly laugh and you really needed it.
I think that’s an important thing to do when writing about material like this.
We’ve touched on that a little bit, but what do you hope the audience gets out of it A good person?
I hope they see something from their own lives in it. It is about a particularly intense tragedy. Hopefully most people won’t have experienced anything like this, but I hope they see something from their own lives when they get back up after a really difficult time.
I mean, even something as universal as COVID that goes through this horrible time and gets back up and starts a new chapter. I hope people see themselves in it.
A good person is released in cinemas on 24 March and can be seen on Sky Cinema from 28 April.