National Post

Braff lets the legends do their own thing

Director worked with idols on Going in Style

- Bob Thompson

Scrubs sitcom star Zach Braff is a confident writer, director and comic actor. Certainly, his two independen­t movies Garden State and Wish I Was Here show off his triple-threat talent.

Still, the 41- year- old was anxious when he first arrived on the Brooklyn, N.Y., set to direct the Oscar- honoured trio of Alan Arkin, Michael Caine and Morgan Freeman in the remake Going in Style. “I was terrified,” says Braff in Los Angeles, taking a break from editing his ABC pilot Start Up. “I look up to them so much.”

It turns out his apprehensi­on was needless.

“They were so supportive and sort of championed me,” he says. “And they were silly and funny between takes and we became a group of friends having a good time.”

Arkin says Braff relied on the veterans to do their jobs during filming.

“It’s after the fact that you see what Zach brings to the table with the editing and the music and that lets you know what kind of a movie it is,” Arkin says.

“I wa s en o r mous l y pleased and excited by what I saw.”

Based on the 1979 octogenari­an heist film, the updated rendition has Arkin, Caine and Freeman portraying desperate senior citizens who rob the bank that holds their cancelled pension funds.

Caine and Freeman were already attached to the redo when Braff was offered the director’s job.

He read Theodore Melfi’s script and responded to the 21st century revisions immediatel­y. “We used the original movie as a jumping-off point, but it was more melancholi­c,” Braff says.

“We wanted the 2017 version to be a bit more hopeful and uplifting at the conclusion.”

Hiring Ann- Margret to play Arkin’s love interest was another sly alteration.

“My other films are about women saving a man from himself,” says Braff. “And really Ann- Margret’s character saves Arkin’s character from himself and who better to do that than a female legend who is sexy and strong.”

Their intimate moments are left to the imaginatio­n, however, in the tradition of PG-13 films.

“I think that it plays best implied,” the director says.

Braff fans, unfortunat­ely, won’t see him in his new film.

“I thought about it,” he says of a co- starring role. “But I also thought that this is my first huge studio movie, so I’m not going to have the audacity of trying to act in this thing, too.”

 ??  ?? Zach Braff
Zach Braff

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada