“Two Buddies on a road trip” that’s how Zach Braff (Finley) described what Sam Rami (Producer of Oz the Great and Powerful) expected of the relationship between Oz and Finley. And to achieve that, Zach had to be on set quite a bit, which is unusual for a movie like this because Finley is a CGI created monkey/puppet that walks and talks and flies.
I’ve seen Oz The Great and Powerful and my favorite character is Finley, he’s charming, has heart and very funny. He makes sure the Oz stays on the right path. You know what he wore? He wore a Onesie and I’ve been looking everywhere for a picture of him in the onesie but I can’t find one. I heard a rumor that he even wore it during his interview on Conan O’Brian.
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]. I sat on my butt and kind of hunched over, I was thirty-six inches tall.…… Sam wanted me to, he wanted to capture everything you know, um, gestures and- and my facial expressions.
When he wasn’t on set he was in a box
Other times there was a puppet that I would kind of operate and when he needed to be flying. 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. 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 so that he could hear me.
Q : What was one of your most memorable moments during filming?
I love the moment when we find China Girl and James is putting her back together. Because it genuinely was so moving. I mean, even on set, it was so moving. 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, .. 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, 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.
Another thing Sam really wanted from the relationship between Oz and Finley was banter. He wanted the two of them to “riff”. The two of them would be going a long and they would give each other a very hard time and Finley was pretty funny. Zach said that it was Scrubs that was a great training ground to be able to come up with his on the spot humor.
I had a wide range of physical comedy from Scrubs, and also the improvisational stuff, ’cause on Scrubs what we would do is, you know, the rule was, do one. Once we have one as written, you guys can play around. And come up with stuff. And 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, I was really glad that you know, Scrubs was great training ground, to be able to do this.
Want to see Zach and James in action? Check out Oz the Great and Powerful now in theaters.