Meet Zach Braff, also known as Finley in the newly released Oz The Great and Powerful!
I was able to meet him in person (see me right in front of him in the pic above?) while in California at the #DisneyOzEvent! Let me just say this, he is exactly what I expected him to be like. HILARIOUS! I’ve watched him for years, although I know him best as his role on Scrubs. He is just like that character in real life.
Although this isn’t his first time in a family film (he also did Chicken Little), this is outside of his normal type of role. He is my favorite character in Oz The Great and Powerful, hands down. When I was given a Finley stuffed animal, I told the kids they better back off. He was mine. Poor kids, maybe one day I’ll surprise them and get them each one…but for now, he’s mine.
Because his character is CGI, we were curious how it was filmed. Although we thought it was all done with him in a box, we were surprised to hear how it was actually filmed, which ended up being hilarious. Zach explained, “By the end we had three pretty solid ways that we did it. Sometimes I was just scrunched down like in this blue screen Onesie which is really adorable and for six months no matter how many times I put it on, everyone pointed and laughed at me. I sat on my butt and kinda hunched over, I was thirty-six inches tall. And so I’d do that, you know, Sam wanted me to, he wanted to capture everything, you know, gestures and my facial expressions. Other times there was a puppet that I would kind of operate and when he needed to be like flying and stuff. And then there’s times when I couldn’t be there at all, and I’d be in this booth with cameras all around me. And then James would be looking at a monitor that was kind of on a pole. And then he’d get the tiny ear piece in his ear, and so that, that’s how we could do it because Sam’s biggest thing was, I don’t want you in a sound booth at the end of the shoot. I want you there, I want you and James improving, I want it to be two buddies on a road trip. ” Oh the infamous onesie! If you’ve seen some of his recent interviews, he has actually worn it. Gotta love the onesie.
If you’ve seen the movie (which I know you all have, because it is AWESOME), you know there are so many amazing, magical parts. When we asked Zach what is favorite part of the movie was, he responded, “I love the moment when we find China Girl and James is putting her back together. Because it genuinely was so moving. I mean, even on set, it was so moving. We were on all these giant sets and to, for the first time we were literally sitting and it was so surreal. We were literally sitting in a tea kettle and it was James and Joey King and the puppeteer. They had this beautiful marionette puppet, because she was small enough that she could actually have a marionette puppet. It was just so sweet and beautiful. I actually had my eyes welled, and I said to Sam, I wanted the monkey to almost be like an easy crier. My eyes really genuinely welled and I was like, Sam, well let’s have him like covertly- he doesn’t want Oz to see that he’s crying, so let’s have him covertly swipe the tear. And then they kept in the movie, it was really sweet.” I must admit, that is a very touching part of the movie. It’s so real, so sad to see her sitting there so upset.
Being a CGI character has it’s challenges. You don’t have control over the actual character, only the voice. Zach explained how it made him nervous, “Are they going to capture all that I’m doing, you know. As an actor you go, okay, it’s my face, so they can’t get around that, you know, when all that you’re doing is really reference for an animator, you’re going, yeah I was nervous. Like are they going to capture the subtleties in this. I don’t want to put my name on this if it’s not going to capture all the little things I’m trying to do. “
If you haven’t seen Oz The Great and Powerful yet, what’s taking you so long?! It is in theaters now! Once you do see it, please let me know what you think!
Disclosure: I was provided a trip to the World Premiere of Oz The Great and Powerful in order to share my thoughts and experiences. As always, all opinions expressed are 100% my own.