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Zach Braff likes to monkey around

braffIf you think acting is all glitz and glamour, you should talk to Zach Braff. You know him best for the years he starred on “Scrubs” but since that network show ended, Braff’s been working more and more in films. His latest big screen adventure is “Oz the Great and Powerful.”

Filing the first part of the movies wasn’t so tough. He plays the unappreciated assistant to the magician (James Franco) who gets wisked away via a tornado to the Emerald City. This happens years before Dorothy shows up to ask the Wizard for a way home. It shows how the magician became the powerful leader of Oz.

It was the Oz part of the movie that left Braff in a small ball at the end of every day. He’s the voice of the Flying Monkey Finley, a character who happens to be only about 3-feet tall. The animated monkey would be added later, but director Sam Raimi wanted the conversations between Oz and Finley to sound real.

The only way Braff could make his own 6-feet tall frame look like he was the same height as the monkey was to scrunch down wearing a suit — Braff calls a “blue screen onsey — that would make him look invisible on screen. The animated monkey was added where Braff had been using a lot of Braff’s facial expressions.

He spent six months working from floor level but Braff was glad to go through the rough acting assignment.

“I was worried I was just gonna be confined in an audio booth the whole time. We ended up finding when I was actually there, when it was possible for me to be physically there, interacting with James, we were getting the best stuff,” Braff says. “Sam cut the three film cameras together to create the performance that the animators would eventually animate Finley off of.

It worked but there was nothing glamorous about the days he spent on the floor of the set.

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