With Garden State, Zach Braff emerged from beyond the small screen for which we all knew him in Scrubs, and made one of the most memorable directorial debuts in recent memory. Since then, he’s been absent from behind the camera on the big screen. But all that is now likely to change with Wish I Was Here.
Braff has been working on writing the script with his brother, Adam. And, following the astounding success that Kristen Bell and co. had launching the Veronica Mars movie on Kickstarter, Braff has decided to take to the project to Kickstarter, bringing it directly to the public in efforts to get Wish I Was Here made.
He notes that he could get the film made like many other independent movies, and secure financing through the traditional avenues. But this would lose him important rights, like final cut and casting choices. And, as you can imagine, those are things that he doesn’t want to sacrifice.
The story behind Garden State is an incredibly interesting one, with Braff managing to secure financing from a sole individual who was outside of the movie industry. That gave him more freedom to make the film exactly how he wanted to make it, directing from his own script, and bringing in a terrific cast.
If his follow-up project reaches its $2m. goal, it will give him the creative freedom to do the same thing on Wish I Was Here. And with only one day gone so far, and the backers pledging close to $1.4m. at the time of writing, it’s looking very likely that that will happen.
“Wish I Was Here” is the story of Aidan Bloom (played by me), a struggling actor, father and husband, who at 35 is still trying to find his identity; a purpose for his life. He and his wife are barely getting by financially and Aidan passes his time by fantasizing about being the great futuristic Space-Knight he’d always dreamed he’d be as a little kid.
When his ailing father can no longer afford to pay for private school for his two kids (ages 5 and 12) and the only available public school is on its last legs, Aidan reluctantly agrees to attempt to home-school them.
The result is some funny chaos, until Aidan decides to scrap the traditional academic curriculum and come up with his own. Through teaching them about life his way, Aidan gradually discovers some of the parts of himself he couldn’t find.
For fans of both Garden State and Scrubs, the video below is definitely worth watching, with Braff bringing in friends Jim Parsons and Donald Faison to help introduce the project. And there’s definitely a suggestion that he has the two in mind to star in the film as well (with Faison’s potential role being a cameo).
It’s been nine long years since we saw Zach Braff make his feature debut as both a writer and a director. And we would love to see him behind the camera here once more.
Braff notes that the film is aiming to shoot in Los Angeles this August, though that is understandably pending schedules, and could be subject to change. The aim is to get the film into Sundance 2014, with an eye to pick up distribution at the festival, and head into theatres in September 2014. A lot of things have to fall into place for that to happen, but we remain very optimistic. Particularly with the pledges at the level they are. And I’m sure Sundance would love to have Braff return, after making him debut there with Garden State.
Like all Kickstarter projects, Braff has a number of awesome levels at which you can pledge, giving back various amazing rewards, from production diaries, a copy of the screenplay, and a tee shirt right on through to exclusive screenings, set visits, signed posters, and video greetings from Braff himself.
So, please, head over to Kickstarter now and help Braff make the movie that he wants to make, the way he wants to make it. Give him your money! I will be giving him mine.