Zach Braff Interview | Blue Suits, Puppets and Visiting the Zoo | Finley From Oz the Great and Powerful | #DisneyOzEvent #flyingmonkey

The Incredibly Funny Zach Braff Interview | Finely From Oz the Great and Powerful


  I have been a huge fan of the cute, adorable and incredibly funny doctor from Scrubs for some time now. When I found out that Finley was played by Zach Braff I knew this interview would be memorable. I wondered how much of the Scrubs character was really him as he is totally believable in that role. As he entered the room I could feel the energy and excitement coming off of him. You could tell what a down to earth friendly guy he was as he talked about life, blue suits, puppets and visiting the zoo. and When we were told time was up we were all disappointed. I would love to sit down for an evening with him and chat… instead I stalk him on Twitter.


photo courtesy of

Q    :    During the production were you 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 [LAUGHTER] which is really adorable and for six months no matter how many times I put it on, everyone pointed and laughed at me [LAUGHTER] and I, so I sat on my butt and kinda hunched over, I was thirty-six inches tall.  And so I, I’d do that, you know, Sam wanted me to, he wanted to capture everything.  So, at, you know, um, gestures and- and my facial expressions.


Photo credit from Zach Braff’s tweet “Both Oz and Scrubs often required me to rock a blue onesie”

So, we’d do it that way.  Other times there was a puppet that I would kind of operate 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, you know, do it, ’cause Sam- 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- and ’cause, 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- this, you know, important relationship.

Q    :    What was one of your most memorable moments during filming?

ZACH BRAFF :    I love the moment- you guys have seen the movie, right?  [OVERLAPPING] I love the moment in- when- when we find China Girl and she’s- and-  James is putting her back together.  Because it genuinely was so moving.  I mean, even on set, it was so moving.  And, 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 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 I said to Sam, I go, I think the monkeys like, uh, it- that’s when I discovered that I wanted the monkey to almost be like an easy crier.  Like [LAUGHTER] I- ’cause I was like, my- 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    :    Aw.  What was the most challenging part?

ZACH BRAFF :    I think, you know, I was nervous the whole time, like I’m here for so long and working so hard.  Are they going to- 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, [STAMMERS] when you’re going to be- 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- I’m nervous to put my name it if it’s not going to capture all the little things I’m trying to do.


Finley (voiced by Zach Braff), left; China Girl (voidced by Joey King), center;  James Franco, right

©Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
And then along the way, I’ve only seen like rough, you know, 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, 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.  Um, they did.  And I, 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.  [OVERLAPPING] Um, so, uh, I did before.  I love, uh, you know, 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, uh, it’s really cute, you’ll love it [LAUGHTER]

Screen Shot 2013-03-13 at 11.33.55 AM

Q    :    I slept with it.

ZACH BRAFF :    So did my nephew.  [LAUGHTER]  I have a twelve-year-old nephew right and I- I swear you guys will love this story as moms.  I have a twelve-year-old nephew and I walk in and his sister couldn’t come out from Florida for the premier, But- but he did.  And I said I want you to give this- his sister is eight.  I said, I want you to give this to Ella for, um, 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 [LAUGHTER] and I’m like, there’s no way Ella is getting that stuffed animal.  Actually it was funny he goes- I want you to give this to Ella, he goes, yeah-yeah-yeah we’ll share it, and I was like, no-no-no it’s for Ella.  [LAUGHTER] So I told, I told my- my, uh, my publicist, I need like a box of those things.  Um, one is not going to do.

Q    :    What was it like going from Scrubs to playing Finley?

ZACH BRAFF :    Well it helped [LAUGHTER] I had a wide range, um, it helped, uh, you know, the, the physical comedy from Scrubs helps, because, um, 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- and- and come up with stuff.  And that 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- and so we, I was really glad that, you know, 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.  [LAUGHTER] Um, and I stumbled across two monkeys, um, let’s just say in intimate embrace [LAUGHTER]  um, none of that proved useful [LAUGHS] maybe for the sequel I don’t know if the monkey gets a girlfriend or not.  Um, but, um, you know, it worked [STAMMERS] 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    :    What was the audition process?

ZACH BRAFF :    Uh, Sam asked me to come in and I didn’t know that I would have read, ’cause I, I would have auditioned.  But he didn’t even want me to audition.  He just kinda wanted to talk and, um, I, I went on.  I went in his room and he had a really- a really rough animatic, um, [STAMMERS] really like the- this pre-visualization stuff, uh, you guys are savvy, you know that.  So, um, 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- and- and, um, and he showed me the animation and I was watching it, and I, and, and I saw him jump off and- and- and Oz says, what are you doing, you’re jumping off.  And I just went, I have wings.  [LAUGHTER] And Sam just started dying laughing and I was like, I guess that’s a good sign. [LAUGHTER]  And to me- and so that’s how it started.  And I, I, I found out when I got home I got the- 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.  [LAUGHTER] maybe when we make the movie, The Monkey, we can do that elaborate scene you just pitched [LAUGHS].  So maybe, who knows, the sequel.


If you haven’t had a chance, check out the rest of the cast interviews!

Michelle Williams | Glina the Good

Sam Raimi | Director

Mila Kunis | Theadora

James Franco | The Wizard

Rachel Weisz | Evanora

Joey King | China Girl

Zach Braff | Finley




Disclosure: I attended this press trip as a Guest of Disney. All opinions are 100% my own.


  1. Christina Jackson says

    I love it! When I first saw this I thought – I didnt know Zach Braff was in Oz” I love how he had to wear the blue suit, I really just assumed he’d be a voice and not very present in the actual production of the film. It’s so cool to see how it all came together. I forgot he was in Chicken Little too 🙂

  2. Michelle Feliciano says

    can’t wait to see the movie

  3. jamie braun says

    i didnt realize he was in this movie either. my daughter and I are finally going to see it tonight! cant wait!

  4. Roma Darnik says

    Thanks for the interview, he’s a great actor and ib OZ he played amazing!

  5. Nice interview

Add Your Comment


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.