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"My ego was humbled," Braff says. "I know I haven't been able to make a movie in 10 years, but I've tried. They just all fell apart. Of course, I could've gone and made a big studio romantic comedy with stars. But 'Scrubs' put me in a position where I could say no. I didn't want to put my name on [crap]."
Braff is still a wandering soul
"He's completely authentic in what he wants to express," Sher says. "It's easy for cynics to take potshots at someone who wears their heart on their sleeves. But that's what endears him to his fans."
Some celebrities insulate themselves from criticism by staying offline, but Braff actively engages his 1.4 million Twitter followers. He lauds its ability to joke with fans in Australia when fighting bouts of insomnia. But his Twitter bio tellingly reads: "I block people quicker than I should."
That's not to say that there were no industry dalliances. The 2006 DreamWorks release, "The Last Kiss" was a romantic comedy misfire that promised him the chance to rewrite the script in a more "gritty and real" tone. ("Yeah, right," he rolls his eyes.) That year saw the release of "The Ex," another critical and commercial failure.
"He's not afraid of being emotionally accessible, tackling big issues, or being too cool for school," explains Stacey Sher, an executive producer on "Garden State" and a producer of "Wish I Was Here," opening July 18. The new film chronicles the travails of Aidan Bloom (Braff), an out of work actor struggling to cope with the death of his father Nike Vapormax Dishwasher Tablets
High points included a 2005 Emmy nomination for Outstanding Lead Actor on "Scrubs" (he left the show in 2009), and a hilarious turn as a "Girls Gone Wild" sleazoid on "Arrested Development." His dream deferred was the adaptation of a dark Danish film called "Open Hearts." Sean Penn reportedly agreed to star, but production stalled when Braff's lead actress (whose identity he declines to divulge) bailed for another role while he was location scouting in Atlanta.
Today the heart on sleeve metaphor is rendered literal by a pin affixed to Braff's olive denim work shirt it reads, simply, "Love." The pin was a present from a friend who offered it as a reminder for when he's feeling "down, stressed and overwhelmed." It's the Braff binary writ small: you either identify with someone pushing 40 striving to stay loving in spite of existential woes, acknowledged flaws and petty irritations. Or you find a "Love" pin irredeemably corny.
"He goes out of his way to be nice to fans and reward them for liking him," says Donald Faison, his "Scrubs" and "Wish I Was Here" co star. "He was in London doing a play [2012's Braff penned "All New People"] and some German fans wrote to him; he was so touched, he ended up traveling to Germany to visit them."
Regardless of your axis on the Braffian spectrum, "Garden State's" impact was unmistakable. Made for $2.5 million, the 2004 word of LiveJournal sensation grossed $26.7 domestically, sold enough DVDs to fill the infinite abyss, and won a Grammy (Best Compilation Soundtrack) and Independent Spirit Award (Best First Feature).
and the rigors of parenthood and marriage.
To his acolytes, Braff is the every nebbish the alienated but empathetic "nice guy" struggling in a world that has rewarded his talent generously, but not absolutely. He's the patron saint of those slightly thwarted in their ambitions, lucky to be where they're at and unable to escape the neurotic black hole of their heads.
The success shocked Braff. The film's screwball psychosomatic wanderings set to sad sack indie rock gave "Little Miss Sunshine" and "Juno" a style to run with. It happened before he was 30. Brafflash was inevitable.
"Was some of it didactic? Sure. Was some of it quirk for quirk sake? Sure," he continues. "But to go back and diss it, and say Nike Vapormax Triple Black 2.0
"I didn't know that 'Garden State' would be this astronomical hit," Braff says, his voice rising in agitation.
Yet others see him as an emblem of musical gentrification, a privileged incarnate of "Stuff White People Like," a glib tipping point in the eventual Urban Outfitterization of indie rock.
we were so young and naive, that's insulting and silly. It was pretty good for a first effort."
Praise Zach Braff. By making the Shins the "change your life" contretemps of "Garden State" (and its Grammy winning soundtrack), the New Jersey native introduced the mid '00s indie pop avatars to the masses, allowing them to anesthetize lunches in swanky hotel restaurants. A decade later, actor and band are as intertwined as John Travolta and the Bee Gees.
quickly finances a follow up. But that didn't happen. Listening to Braff explain his decade long odyssey to make its successor doubles as an indictment of modern film financing.
"Everything is celebrity dependent, and celebrities' schedules are always in flux. It's fascinating that anything gets made," Braff says. "Eighty percent of a movie is the cast, but Nike Vapormax Gray money guys treat it like a Chinese food menu. 'You can only make it with him if you pair him with her.' There's people on lists whose names you don't even know and when you ask, they say, 'Oh, they're in a giant franchise coming out. By the time your movie comes out, they'll be huge.' "
LOS ANGELES Blame Zach Braff. The Shins are warbling at Cucina inside the Four Seasons Hotel in Beverly Hills, a power lunch spot frequented by Hollywood's most cold blooded players. Over the restaurant's speakers, "The Simple Song" the same one used in the trailer for Braff's new film "Wish I Was Here" interrupts a bite of his steak salad.
"You're going to put that in the story, right? Here we are . . . in a nook in the Four Seasons . . . and the Shins come on," the 39 year old "Scrubs" star turned auteur wisecracks in a mock narrator's voice.
A Braffian takeover seemed imminent after "Garden State." You don't need to know about out of state production tax credits to understand that when your first movie makes its money back 20 fold, someone usually Nike Air Vapormax Colours
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