So if you’re a regular reder then you probably know by now that while in LA for the red carpet premiere of Oz The Great And Powerful we got to interview the main cast members. One of my favorite actors from the film turned out to be Zach Braff, who plays Finley the Flying Monkey. As you may be able to tell from reading the interview questions, Zach is very personable. And he’s really funny, both onscreen and offscreen.
Here’s a clip that I found that shows a bit of Finley’s character.
And here’s the main questions from the interview.
Q : During the production you’re in this little tiny black booth?
ZACH BRAFF : Yeah, that’s one of the ways we did it. Sometimes, by the end we had three pretty solid ways that we did it. Sometimes I was like 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, so 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 to capture everything, gestures and my facial expressions.
So that, we’d do it that way. 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 that’s how we could do it, ’cause 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.
And I think that made such a difference. Because it wasn’t just this character that got phoned in at the end, it really was this important relationship.
Q : What was one of your most memorable moments during filming?
ZACH BRAFF : 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. And, you know, we were on all these giant sets and 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, 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. And I actually had my eyes welled, and that’s when I discovered that I wanted the monkey to almost be like an easy crier. Like 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.
Q : What was the most challenging part?
ZACH BRAFF : I think I was nervous the whole time, like I’m here for so long and working so hard. 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, yeah I was nervous. Like are they going to capture the subtleties in this. I’m nervous to put my name it if it’s not going to capture all the little things I’m trying to do.
And then when I start and then along the way, I’ve only seen like rough incarnations of it, ’cause it takes so long to get it that photo-real, the way you guys saw it in the movie. And then at the premier I finally saw, and for the first time, fully photo-real and realized, and it was so exciting for me. Because it really did, little subtle face ticks, and things I never would have thought they would have picked up in the eyes. They did. And that made me really happy, that they got it all.
Q : You were the comedy, and that’s what kids really respond to, what’s your feeling about doing this for kids?
ZACH BRAFF : Well I did do Chicken Little. I have nieces and nephews, I don’t have any of my own yet, but I love kids and the idea- I’ve already scored that stuffed animal and, it’s really cute, you’ll love it.
Q : I slept with it. (This was me telling Zach that I’d slept with my Finley the night before. And he is really cute.)
ZACH BRAFF : So did my nephew. I have a twelve-year-old nephew right and I swear you guys will love this story as moms. I walk in and his sister couldn’t come out from Florida for the premier, but he did. His sister is eight. I said, I want you to give this to Ella because she didn’t get to come out. And he goes, yeah-yeah-yeah I’ll give it to her, and he’s sleeping on my couch. I walk in to come here this morning, and he’s totally spooning it and I’m like, there’s no way Ella is getting that stuffed animal. Actually it was funny he, yeah-yeah-yeah we’ll share it, and I was like, no-no-no it’s for Ella. So I told my publicist, I need like a box of those things. One is not going to do.
Q : What was it like going from Scrubs to playing Finley?
ZACH BRAFF : Well it helped. I had a wide range, the physical comedy from Scrubs helps and also the improvisational stuff, ’cause on Scrubs what we would do is, you know, the rule was, hey, do one. Once we have one as written, you guys can play around. And come up with stuff. And really a lot of the stuff people loved, came out of us improving on Scrubs. And on this movie it was so big, I was like, they’re not going to have time for any of that. But Sam really wanted that, he’s like, I want you and James to riff.
I want you to find those new jokes and so I was really glad that Scrubs was, you know, kind of great training ground, to be able to do this.
Q : How do you prepare for a role like a monkey?
ZACH BRAFF : I did actually go to the Detroit Zoo. I stumbled across two monkeys, let’s just say in intimate embrace, none of that proved useful, maybe for the sequel I don’t know if the monkey gets a girlfriend or not. You know, it worked creating a creature from scratch, I mean, yeah, he looks like a monkey but he flies and he talks like a human. So it really wasn’t too much monkey research to be done.
Q : SO there wasn’t a lot of monkey business?
ZACH BRAFF : You have me on record saying there was little monkey business.
Q : How do you feel about flying monkey trending on Twitter?
ZACH BRAFF : Is it? No it’s not. Because of you guys? You guys are such scary power. You know, it’s so funny- congratulations. Wow, you guys- you guys can band together for good. That’s really cool. That’s a lot of power. I’m going to get on there and re-tweet it.
Q : What was the audition process?
ZACH BRAFF : Sam asked me to come in and I didn’t know that I would have read, ’cause I would have auditioned. But he didn’t even want me to audition. He just kinda wanted to talk. And, I went in his room and he had a really rough animatic- this pre-visualization stuff, you guys are savvy, you know that. So, that’s what it was, it was that sequence where we’re running off the cliff and right before we go into the bubbles, where I jump off. And the monkey didn’t have any lines.
And he said, so here’s an example. We have this scene, but, you know, we want someone who can kinda come to the set and figure out who this guy is with me and- and James. And he showed me the animation and I was watching it, and I saw him jump off and Oz says, what are you doing, you’re jumping off. And I just went, I have wings. And Sam just started dying laughing and I was like, I guess that’s a good sign. And so that’s how it started. And I found out when I got home I got the gig, ’cause I made the director laugh.
And that’s what he wanted, he wanted someone that could sit there and go, oh what if I said this. And I said, Sam, I promise you this, I’m going to drive you crazy, I’m going to pitch a thousand ideas, but just take what you like and leave the rest. No hard feelings. And there’d be plenty of times where I, we’d be on set and I’d be like, oh what if this da-da-da-da-da-da all excited and he’d be like, that’s hysterical, but it’s not called The Monkey. Maybe when we make the movie, The Monkey, we can do that elaborate scene you just pitched. So maybe, who knows, the sequel.
Q : How would you like to take a quick group photo?
ZACH BRAFF : I would love to. It’ll be trending on Twitter. God, I wish all the other movies were this fun, I sit in a boring room. Come around, moms because I’m tall.
THIS IS PART OF A SERIES OF ARTICLES. HERE IS THE COMPLETE LIST OF INTERVIEWS PUBLISHED SO FAR.
Interview with James Franco – OZ
Interview with Mila Kunis – Theodora
Interview with Mila Kunis – Theodora – OZ Spoilers
Interview with Rachel Weisz – Evanora
Interview with Director Sam Raimi
Interview with Michelle Williams – Glinda
Post on the OZ Premiere at the El Capitan Theatre in LA
Synopsis – Disney’s fantastical adventure “Oz The Great and Powerful,” directed by Sam Raimi, imagines the origins of L. Frank Baum’s beloved wizard character. When Oscar Diggs (James Franco), a small-time circus magician with dubious ethics, is hurled away from dusty Kansas to the vibrant Land of Oz, he thinks he’s hit the jackpot—fame and fortune are his for the taking—that is until he meets three witches, Theodora (Mila Kunis), Evanora (Rachel Weisz) and Glinda (Michelle Williams), who are not convinced he is the great wizard everyone’s been expecting. Reluctantly drawn into the epic problems facing the Land of Oz and its inhabitants, Oscar must find out who is good and who is evil before it is too late. Putting his magical arts to use through illusion, ingenuity—and even a bit of wizardry—Oscar transforms himself not only into the great wizard but into a better man as well. “Oz The Great and Powerful” is produced by Joe Roth, with screen story by Mitchell Kapner and screenplay by Mitchell Kapner and David Lindsay-Abaire. Grant Curtis, Palak Patel, Josh Donen and Philip Steuer are serving as executive producers. “Oz The Great and Powerful” opens in U.S. theaters on March 8, 2013.
“Oz The Great and Powerful” is now playing in U.S. theaters.
OZ Website and Mobile site: www.Disney.com/TheWizard
OZ The Great And Powerful on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/OzTheGreatAndPowerful
OZ The Great And Powerful on Twitter: https://twitter.com/disneyozmovie
I attended this event as a guest of Disney, with all expenses paid. As always, any personal opinions reflected in this post are my own and have not been influenced by the sponsor in any way.