Zach Braff Talks Directing Again, Joins 'Devil and the Deep Blue Sea'
by Ethan Anderton
April 22, 2011
Last July we found out that Garden State filmmaker Zach Braff may finally return to the director's chair with the romantic comedy Swingles. However, since then we haven't heard much the project itself, so it's unclear what's going on. But now we have word on a couple projects for the writer, director and actor that will have him busy in front of and behind the camera. First up, Braff says he's starring in a project called The Devil and the Deep Blue Sea with Jessica Biel and Chloe Moretz. In addition, it sounds like he may soon be directing again by adapting his own play which will premiere this summer. More details below!
As for The Devil and the Deep Blue Sea, Braff revealed the casting himself to Movieline saying the project would likely get underway this fall. Braff says, "That’s a really, really well-written script by a guy named Bill Purple." So what's it all about? Unable to reconcile the grief from recently losing his wife, an introverted architect befriends a wisecracking young girl and agrees to help her build a raft to cross the Atlantic. Sounds like something that would be good for Braff to make a return to the big screen.
As for getting back in the director's chair, Braff has had some trouble getting a couple of projects off the ground, and his time spent on the now canceled ABC series "Scrubs" seems to have been the factor in making his filmmaking journeys more difficult. Here's what he told ComingSoon about his hiatus from directing:
"There's two parts to it. One I was able to make 'Garden State' miraculously with tremendous support while doing 'Scrubs' so then when I continued to do 'Scrubs'… In hindsight, it was amazing how much lined up perfectly so I could squeeze that in while doing a TV show and then for the rest of the run of 'Scrubs,' I wasn't able to get those wonderful things to line up again because it just didn't work out. Now I've had two movies almost come together, both of which fell apart. I could have made a crap movie ten times over but I'm trying to make a really good movie that I stand by and that I believe in, so tell all of those people who are waiting, 'I thank you so much and it's coming.' I've been trying to navigate the Hollywood system and make something really good that you'll all like again and not make something that I don't believe in."
At least he has enough integrity not to take on a film that would just be a paycheck. You have to give him a certain amount of credit for that. But it sounds like with "Scrubs" not taking his time anymore, that his next directing gig may come together. It will actually be an adaptation of a play he wrote himself that will premiere this summer. It's called All New People, and here's what it's all about:
It’s the dead of winter and the summer vacation getaway of Long Beach Island, New Jersey is desolate and blanketed in snow. Charlie is 35, heartbroken and just wants some time away from the rest of the world. The island ghost town seems to be the perfect escape until his solitude is interrupted by a motley parade of misfits who show up and change his plans. A hired beauty, the townie fireman, and an eccentric British real estate agent desperately trying to stay in the country suddenly find themselves tangled together in a beach house where the mood is anything but sunny.
Sounds like a pretty good follow-up to Garden State if you ask me. And apparently they're going to be getting the film off the ground outside of the studio system. Braff told Movieline, "One idea is to forgo the whole system — to kind of go the Tyler Perry route and make a really small-scale movie like [Hard Cost of Living]. And Gary Gilbert, who financed Garden State has already said he’d finance it. So if the things that are on my burners that require more of a substantial budget don’t come together, I think what we’re going to do in maybe the fall or winter is that I’m going to direct and Gary’s going to produce a movie on this scale so we can just make something."
As someone who was and remains a big fan of Garden State, I'd love for Braff to finally get back to directing. In addition, his presence onscreen does have a unique charm, and with "Scrubs" out of the way, I'm looking forward to him getting back into the movies sometimes soon. The adaptation of his play certainly has promise, and I'm betting he can get together quite a cast. We'll try to keep you posted as Braff slowly makes a return to filmmaking and acting on the big screen. Looking forward to Zach Braff working in film again?