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INTERVIEW: Zach Braff on Music In His Movies and Florence Pugh for ‘A Good Person’

Florence Pugh in A Good Person looking out a window

A Good Person brings us Florence Pugh yet again showing the world just how incredibly talent she is. The movie, written and directed by Zach Braff, follows Allison (Pugh) as she’s coping with a car crash that ruined her life, got her addicted to opioids, and how it all connects back to her dreams of being a musician. It’s a lot to take in and a movie that, for me, ranks pretty high up in my favorites of Braff’s collection.

And for the movie, I got to talk with Zach Braff about creating this movie in the pandemic and working with Pugh, who he was living with at the time. But one of the things I was most excited to talk with him about his is choice of music in his movies. Especially since Allie spends a great deal of time in band t-shirts I want.

One of the aspects of the movie that I really love is Allie’s love of music, even in her darkest of times, coming through in her clothes. So I asked about the band t-shirts in the film and the connection to music that his films typically have. “Well, the costumes, I gotta give credit to Florence and Tere Duncan, our costume designer.” He said, going on to laugh about the vastness of the shirts they got approved to use.

“I was watching the movie recently and I’m like, how did we get the rights to all these shirts? Because we certainly had no budget, but, somehow we did,” he said. “But, that really came out of Florence’s collab. The t-shirts came out of Florence’s collaboration with the costume designer.”

Music and Zach Braff

Most of his movies have an incredible soundtrack. It is why Garden State‘s soundtrack is still regarded as one of the best around. And A Good Person is no different. But this movie does have the element of music being something that is tied to Allie and who she is. And so I asked Zach Braff about his approach to music in his movies and how he crafts these soundtracks we know and love.

“In terms of the music, I just kind of make these playlists all the time, even when I’m not writing something and I hear a song and I go, I don’t know what that is, but it’s cinematic,” he said. “It’s gonna go somewhere. It should go somewhere in something . And I directed an episode of Shrinking recently and maybe it ends up in Shrinking or making my own film.”

He went on to talk more specifically about the crafting of his movie soundtracks. “Obviously, I’m gonna have 12 to 14 songs. What are they gonna be? And you can try them all,” he said. “You know, with my editor, you figured where they might go, but you just don’t know. And it isn’t until the arm hair on my arm raises up that I go, okay, that is a definite contender for that moment. So it’s all trial and error and it’s patience. Because a song that could be your favorite song in the whole world, you could put to picture and you’re just like, ah, it doesn’t work. There’s something missing. It’s just kind of like waiting for that alchemy to show up.”

You can see the rest of our interview here:


A Good Person is in theaters now.

(Featured image: MGM)

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Rachel Leishman (She/Her) is an Assistant Editor at the Mary Sue. A writer her whole life but professionally starting back in 2016 who loves all things movies, TV, and classic rock. Resident Spider-Man expert, official Leslie Knope, actually Yelena Belova. Wanda Maximoff has never done anything wrong in her life. Star Wars makes her very happy. New York writer with a passion for all things nerdy. Yes, she has a Pedro Pascal podcast. And also a Harrison Ford one.