Zach Braff

Zach Braff in Wish I Was Here

Zach Braff in “Wish I Was Here”

In many ways, Zach Braff is a lot like cinema legend Orson Wells. He’s incredibly talented, not particularly good looking, and at the age of 30, had just laid down the foundation for what would soon become a legendary career. Now, Braff’s debut feature “Garden State” can hardly be compared to the likes of “Citizen Kane,” but it’s no secret that it was one promising piece of filmmaking. Born in South Orange, New Jersey in 1975, Zach was raised by his father, who in his spare time, performed in the community theater. By age eleven, Zach was already attending an acting camp for children, and soon after was scouted by a talent agent who got Zach his first acting gig: a television pilot opposite Gwyneth Paltrow. During his studies at Northwestern University, Zach landed a role in the Woody Allen film “Manhattan Murder Mystery,” and following graduation, landed a few more jobs.

It wasn’t until 2001 when Zach got his big break. Bill Lawrence, the creator of the hit comedy “Spin City,” was casting his new medical comedy and needed a fresh face for the lead role. Zach eventually won the part of Dr. John “J.D.” Dorian on “Scrubs,” and after a rocky start, the show became one of NBC’s most watched programs. Following his success on the small screen, Zach was finally able to pull together the finances to produce his own film, “Garden State,” in which he also wrote, directed and starred in. The independent film was a massive success at the Sundance Film Festival and with critics, winning numerous awards including an Independent Spirit Award for Breakthrough Director and a 2005 Grammy for Best Compilation Soundtrack Album for a Motion Picture. The next year, Zach was nominated for both and Emmy and a Golden Globe for his work on “Scrubs,” and though he didn’t win, it’s evident that he’s bound to end up with a few golden statues. Recently, Zach has been a busy man, what with his highly publicized relationship with singer/actress Mandy Moore and a slew of new films due in theaters soon.

Zach Braff on the Screen and Behind the Camera

Receiving a break from Woody Allen as a youngster, Zach was cast as his son in the film “Manhattan Murder Mystery” before getting the leading role in NBC’s hit sitcom “Scrubs.” Since then, Zach has gone on to write/direct/star in his debut film “Garden State,” lend the voice to Chicken Little in the Disney feature of the same name, and even guest starred on an episode of “Arrested Development.” He hasn’t done much in the years since, but following an appearance in Sam Raimi’s “Oz the Great and Powerful,” Braff turned to Kickstarter to help fund his follow-up directorial effort, “Wish I Was Here.”

From the Mouth of Zach

On “Garden State”:
“Actually when I gave out the script, I gave it with a CD of all the music I wanted to put in the movie, and again, we never thought we’d get all that music.”

On Natalie Portman:
“I remember seeing her in “Beautiful Girls” and “The Professional” and being like, This girl is genius! This girl is ahead of her time. This girl is a prodigy.”