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Zach Braff On English Boozing

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Summer, 2004. The premiere of Zach Braff’s directorial debut Garden State, from a script he wrote, signals a cinematic breakthrough of a major new talent. He’s even hailed as the “new Woody Allen”. Winter, 2012. Zach Braff, 37, is still to make a follow-up. As the play All New People (which he wrote and is starring in) opens in London, ShortList set out to discover what’s keeping him.

You haven’t been as prolific as expected — are you just being picky?

There are two parts to it. Sometimes it’s been about financing — I have about four films I can’t wait to make. Everyone in town passed on Garden State, but when it did well I thought, “Great, this means it’ll be easy to get quirky films made now.” That wasn’t the case. Also, I was blessed to have this great experience on Scrubs, so I can afford to be picky. I have loyal fans and I want to do right by them by not doing sh*te.

‘Sh*te’? Was that part of your vocabulary before you came to England?

No. I’ve only been here two days and I’m already picking up expressions. It’s my new favourite curse word. Actually, I’ve been smiling from ear-to-ear since I landed. London is such a beautiful city, with its architecture and the little windy alleys.

So you’re planning to see as much of the UK as possible?

I’ve been here a couple of times, so I’ve done a lot of the touristy things, but you might still see me with a comically large unfolded map. Do you know of Jermain Defoe of the Tottenham Hotsporos? He wrote me a nice note saying he was a fan of my work and asked me to be his guest at one of the games.

Which one are you going to?

I said I was a little swamped with rehearsals, but I asked him to join us for opening night. I’m hoping to get a big, fancy footballer to come see us. I’m not a massive sports fan, but I have to pretend while I’m here — it’s so important to you guys.

Will you get the chance to have many nights off?

Are you kidding me? London’s nightlife is a blast. And my show’s only 90 minutes long, so there’s plenty of time for boozing after. I love quaint English pubs. As an American, I geek out and just want to sit there with my pint. There’s one on every corner. Just next to a Pret… what do you call it? Pret A Manger? I can’t believe how many of those there are. You guys must love it — there’s one every two feet.

You’ve got a pilot’s licence — do you go flying with fellow pilots Harrison Ford and John Travolta?

No, those guys are flying at a much higher level than I am. They’re flying what we call ‘big metal’. I don’t have the wallet — I can only take a couple of people up. But I have this fantasy that Harrison’s going to knock on my door one day and ask me to come flying.

Can you barrel roll?

I’m not a daredevil pilot. I love the peaceful serenity. And in a smaller plane you really get to see the country. There’s something so cool about taking off, putting on the Jurassic Park soundtrack and flying over a mountain.

All New People tours Manchester, Glasgow & London from 8 Feb; allnewpeople.co.uk

(Image: Rex Features)

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