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CASTING CORNER
 
Wednesday, July 28, 2004
Braff Brings His 'Baby' to the Big Screen

What a difference four years can make. "Scrubs" star Zach Braff was waiting tables just a few years go -- now, he's well on his way to becoming one of Hollywood's hottest young filmmakers. The 29-year-old actor is taking the director's chair for the off-beat, coming-of-age film, "Garden State."

Braff wrote, directed and stars in the film, which he calls, "my baby," about a young man who comes home for his mother's funeral after being away for nine years. And Braff was thrilled when Natalie Portman agreed to come aboard as his beautiful co-star in the film.

"[Portman] is the kind of person, she walks into a room and you can't take your eyes off, you know," Braff insisted.

"He had this really easygoing but confident energy, so that it was very relaxed on the set," Portman said of her co-star and director.

But you know that with Braff writing the script, Portman's character, Sam, wouldn't be perfect. "She's a compulsive liar, she doesn't always do right, but she's endearing and completely charming," Braff told us.

Now with his first film receiving rave reviews -- the movie made a big splash at this year's Sundance Film Festival -- Braff insists he's got his dream job, and it's all thanks to "Scrubs:" "It did allow me to have people read my script and get back to me. What I set out to do was to make movies."

"Garden State" opens in limited release today.

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