A Brief Chat with Zach Braff and Bill Lawrence
In celebration of “Scrubs” returning to NBC for its seventh and final season, here’s a look at the brief but entertaining few moments I was able to spend on a teleconference with star Zach Braff and director/series creator Bill Lawrence. The guys spent an hour and a half on the line, answering one question after another from reporters from hither and yon, and I was lucky enough to be the second person to get on the phone with them, but to give you an idea of how many people were on the call, by the time I got my second shot at the mike, we were at the hour and a half mark. In fact, I was the very last question of the day...but we’ll get to that in a moment.
FIRST TIME AROUND –
Bullz-Eye: Bill, what’s the status of Aloma Wright (Nurse Laverne Roberts) on the show? I know the rumor had gone around for awhile that she would be coming back and playing Laverne’s alcoholic sister, but now I’ve heard…
Bill Lawrence: Well here’s the scoop, man, and you can totally help me out with that because, you know, I have a feeling that I’m going to get a lot crap from our fan base. But, uh…so I wanted to get this story out, which is basically when I killed Aloma last year, I would never take work away from a, you know, an actress that we consider part of the family. We thought last year would be the last season. So when I killed Laverne, it was because we basically said, “Hey, what’s a good dramatic arc for the end of the year, since we’re kind’ve ending up the show?” And once we got there, we had already written the stuff, but we had been told by our studios that the show would continue for another year. So I promised her that she would come back. I don’t want people to get mad at me. She returns as a nurse named Shirley; she looks slightly different, but she still looks like the same actress. But the only thing we’re doing is that only Zach’s character thinks the two of them look alike.
Zach Braff: I wanted them…there was talk – and we haven’t done this yet – that she would be a Coquettish atheist.
BL: And then there’s a lot of talk, too, that because she’s a new character, some of the writers think that we should kill her yet again…but, this time, nobody cares.
ZB: Yeah. “Did you hear Shirley got run over by a car?”
BL: It was, “She got hit by a bus. Oh, hey, do they have any donuts?”
BL: So she will be back, and I apologize to people. And, hopefully, they will let it go, and she will be back as a…you know, I figured “Bewitched” had two different guys play her husband, so I can have someone as a joke come back as a different character.
BE: Zach, is there any side of J.D. that hasn’t been explored in the show yet that you’d like to see explored in the final season?
ZB: I…that’s a good question. I feel like there’s…I mean, seven years worth of sides of J.D.. I don’t know. I think we…I like it when we explore his love of Donald Faison (Turk). I think we can always have more of that.
BL: Also, the…Zach’s already doing it, even though he’s not saying it, which is that I think that this show…the ending of this show will be unsatisfying for people if they don’t feel like his character has finally grown up, you know? And, you know, one of the things that’s tough about being lucky enough to go on this long is that you can only do the young kind of man child who hasn’t matured yet for so long before Zach’s coming to me and being, like, “Bill, I’m…you know, my character is 30 years old now. I think he might not wear cartoon t-shirts or jammies to bed.” And, so, we’re trying to make him a little more mature.
(After Braff and Lawrence had been answering questions for an hour straight…including several from Jewish publications, which amused Braff to no end… the conference moderator – that would be the lovely Carol Janson – came on the line and asked the operator how many questions were left in queue. When it was confirmed that a mere seven questions remained, Ms. Janson asked the guys if they were willing to answer the final seven questions…and, God bless ‘em, they were game.)
Operator: Our seventh question does come from William Harris of Bullz-Eye.com. You may ask your question.
BL: Can we take a second and enjoy the seventh and final question?
ZB: I think it would be so funny if the seventh and final question was from another Jewish publication.
BL: “This is from the Jewish Monthly.”
ZB: “This is from Torah Nightly.”
BE: Sorry, I’m Episcopalian.
BL: No way! By the way, we’re going to have a moment now, my friend, because I am as well. Welcome. Zach, this is one of my tribe; you’re not going to understand what we talk about.
ZB: One of these days, the Jews are going to get a foothold in Hollywood.
BL: You’re not going to understand the way we connect, Zach, but this is going to be some serious Episcopalian shit going on.
ZB: I can’t wait.
BE: Plus, I was kind of from your tribe already, because I’m from the Hampton Roads area.
BL: Nice. Look at that: where I went to college, too. That’s very cool.
ZB: I’m about to hang up.
BE: You were talking about guest stars earlier. Will you be bringing back Franklyn or is Masi Oka (who now plays Hiro Nakamura on “Heroes”) out of your price range now?
BL: No, you know, Masi is very cool, because he’s always, like, “Do I have to come back and do something?” And we just haven’t been able to work it out yet. But, yeah, he’s also…I think he may be more powerful in popular in Hollywood than Zach and I and everybody that works here.
ZB: I don’t think we can afford Masi.
BL: Yeah, he’s…I always call and say, “Hey, if you’re not doing anything at lunch tomorrow, maybe you want to come over here and say a couple of lines as your old character…”
ZB: And he pulls up in his Bentley and rolls down the window and he’s, like, “Uh, no.”
BL: “No.” I’m so happy for him, though. What a good kid. And what a smart guy.
BE: Is there any guest star that you’d like to have that you have not gotten yet?
BL: John Cusack. I always say it because he used to come by here and steal our food, and he always tells me, you know, that he’d think about doing it, and then he’s always busy being a movie star.
BE: Anyone else?
BL: Shoot, I don’t know.
ZB: Jenna Jameson.
BE: Well, she’s retiring from adult acting, so your chances just went up.
BL: There you go.