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Zach Braff screens new movie 'A Good Person' in Seattle

The drama starring Florence Pugh and Morgan Freeman opens in theaters March 24. #k5evening

SEATTLE — When Zach Braff traveled to Seattle for a screening of his new film this spring, it gave him a chance to see family.

"My brother and sister-in-law live here, so it was extra cool that they brought a bunch of friends to the screening and I got to hug them,” he said, following the March event at SIFF Cinema Uptown.

Braff, known for his work on the hit NBC show "Scrubs," was on a tour promoting “A Good Person,” which he wrote and directed. The drama centers on a woman coping in the aftermath of a fatal accident and stars Academy Award nominee and Braff’s former girlfriend Florence Pugh.

He worked on the script while they lived together during the pandemic lockdown, a process Braff said helped him work through his own grief.

"I hate to say ‘as an artist,’ but as an artist, it allowed me to express myself,” he said. "I have experienced a lot of grief in my life over the past four years. I lost my sister. I lost my father. And then during the pandemic, one of my best friends at age 41 died of COVID. When I set out to write something, I wanted to write about grief. I wanted to write about standing back up again after trauma."

Pugh's character finds hope in an unlikely friend, played by legendary actor Morgan Freeman. His casting exceeded Braff's wildest dreams.

"My phone rang. Actually, Florence and I were together and she held up the phone and it said 'Morgan Freeman' across the top and I was like, 'Oh my God!'" he said. "He didn't even say hello, he said, 'I see myself on every page of the script.' And I was like, 'Does that mean yes?'"

The movie was filmed on location in South Orange, New Jersey — Braff’s hometown. Soccer games were shot at his old high school, with his father’s apartment complex in the background. The duck pond where he used to float toy boats was used for a pivotal scene between Freeman and the actor who plays his son.

"In the spirit of write what you know, I really wanted to be authentic and I didn't want to get anything wrong," Braff said. "So there was something comforting about, let me set it in a place I really know.”

He hopes all audiences will be moved by the performances and see a bit of themselves in "A Good Person."

"In my opinion, these are two of the finest actors alive. She's a young ingenue and he's one of the great acting masters of our time,” he said. "It makes me feel a little bit less lonesome because when we experience these emotions alone, it can be isolating and I have felt lonesome. So to share them, in a story, that's the best feeling."

“A Good Person” is rated R and opened in theaters March 24.

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