“Wish I Was Here,” Zach Braff’s highly anticipated, Kickstarter-funded film at its core is about family. The story of being at a crossroads as a parent, spouse, and child all at once is something incredibly relatable, no matter where you are in your life. So therefore, the casting of the core family was crucial to the film.
The father/daughter bond in the movie between Aidan Bloom (Zach Braff) and his daughter Grace is a large part of the movie, and Braff picked the perfect young ingenue to fill the part with actress Joey King.
Interestingly, King was actually a backer and supporter of the flick long before being cast. King tells Zap2it she stayed friends with Braff after working with him on “Oz the Great and Powerful,” and was instantly supportive of the actor’s unique fundraising efforts.
“This is so cool. I’m so happy for Zach! I really hope he reaches his goal and gets his movie made,” the actress says were her initial thoughts after watching his videos and reading up on Braff’s second directorial effort.
King donated somewhere in the $250 or more range and got the backer perk of having Braff record a voice greeting for her saying anything she wanted. The options are endless as to what the actress could have gotten her co-star to say, but we think she made a perfect choice. “I had him say, in a longer version, that he would name his first born child after me,” King reveals.
When Braff approached her to be a bigger part of the film a few weeks later, King says she jumped at the chance to be a piece of the pie in the “incredible” story. It’s not every day an actress like Kate Hudson (“Almost Famous”) is playing your mom and the legendary Mandy Patinkin (“Homeland”) your grandfather.
King praises her “WIWH” mom describing her as “flawless” and “brilliant,” and said one member of her family was especially happy she was working on the film with Patinkin, “When my Grandma found out I was working with [Patinkin] she was like ‘Oh my God, I need to come on set,'” she recalls.
King’s character Grace Bloom is going through her own coming of age moment in the story, and tries to find a balance between her traditional, regimented, Jewish views and her parent’s more relaxed approach at existing. All the while, she picks up a lot of the energy Aidan and Sarah are giving off while they battle unhappiness in their own relationships.
When it came time for Grace to shave her head for a pivotal scene, King was all in. “I was so nervous! But of course I was very excited to do it, I would do anything for Zach,” she explains.
Though it wasn’t the first time the actress had shaved her head for a flick — she did it once before in “The Dark Knight Rises” — King reveals it had a larger effect on her this time around. “When I did it for ‘Dark Knight Rises’ I was 11 and a little less vain than I am now. I didn’t even wear makeup at 11-years-old, so it took longer to get used to,” she says. However, she adds, when it came down to the big day, she did it without any hesitations or regrets.
Wonder how Zach Braff, the director is vs. Zach Braff, the actor? King has nothing but praise for his juggling act, saying, “He’s so brilliant, it was a very intriguing experience watching him do his thing. He also never lost his lightheartedness. He didn’t let the stress get to him to where he was grumpy or anything. He’s always so much fun.”
Speaking of fun, while King confesses she is “dying to work with Leonardo DiCaprio,” she had the pleasure of shooting a scene for the film with Braff and his former “Scrubs” bestie Donald Faison. She tells Zap2it the actors’ friendship is more adorable than fans could have ever imagined. “They are the cutest bromance ever and their ‘guy love’ is amazing! They are so funny together,” she says.
King can’t wait for others to see the film, as it offers the soul much more than your typical day at the movies. “Seeing it was a completely emotional experience for me,” she confesses. “It taught me so much about who I am and what life should be about.”
Dive into the incredible, emotional journey that is “Wish I Was Here” when it hits select theaters Friday, July 18.