"Garden State" writer/actor/director Zach Brag; left, with producer Gary Gilbert
FILM FINANCIER from page 45
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I would rather stay here and help the
Considering that Garden State is
Gilbert's first film, Braff said he was sur-
prised by the novice producer's filmmak-
ing knowledge and all-around savvy.
"He had a reputation of being a finan-
cier, but we found out he also really
knows about films," said Braff. "He was
on the set all the time, and we really val-
ued his opinions; he knows exactly what
needs to be done. As an outsider, he
gave us a refreshing approach."
Braff, who comes from a strictly
kosher home in South Orange, N.J.,
attended a children's acting camp, gradu-
ated from Northwestern University's
film school, and played movie and TV
roles as a teenager. He shopped the
Garden State script around to a number
of producers, including Camelot.
"The story is a combination of my .
New Jersey experiences and those of my
friends," explained Braff, who writes
short stories as a hobby and is in his
third TV season as John "J.D." Dorian,
the fresh-faced medical resident on the
NBC sitcom Scrubs. He's also directed a
movie video of the Scrubs theme song,
"My parents would have rather seen
me become a doctor," he said, "but
they feel that playing a doctor on TV
is the next best thing."
1/2 mile North of Big Beaver Rd. (16 Mile), N. of 1-75
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Mon — Thurs 11 am — 10:30 pm • Fri 11 am — 11 pm
Sat noon — 11 pm • Sun noon — 9:30 pm
Gilbert, a bachelor, owns a high-rise
condo on Manhattan's Upper East
Side, and plans to buy a place in Los
Angeles. Producing movies also leads
to a lot of dates with a variety of
women and attendance at many show-
biz parties, but Gilbert was warned
not to date actresses seriously.
"They're almost always out of town
making films — and many of them
end up having affairs with their co- .
stars," he explained.
Gilbert was inspired by such classic
films as Butch Cassidy and the Sundance
Kia Raging Bug The Graduate, The
Shining and Dead Man Walking.
Recent Oscar winner Sean Penn,
whom Gilbert met on the Aspen,
Colo., ski slopes, is now his favorite
actor, and Gilbert counts Sylvester
Stallone and Heather Graham among
his newfound movie-star friends.
Camelot Pictures-is now working on
The Brothel a story about a Harvard
medical student who gets involved
with Nevada's famed Mustang Ranch;
The Box, a Twilight Zone-type horror
story; and, with Disney, a film on the
life of former race-car driver Richard
Petty, starring Dennis Quaid.
"Besides his filmmaking attributes,
Gary Gilbert is probably the most eli-
gible bachelor in the U.S.," quipped
Braff. "He's very handsome, very rich
and an all-around nice guy. He's a
Jewish mother's dream." 111
Garden State will be shown 8:30
p.m. Saturday, May 15, at two
theaters in Birmingham's Uptown
Palladium 12, located at 250 N.
Old Woodward, to benefit JARC.
Minimum donation: $50 per per-
son/patron tickets: $500, includes
afterglow with producer Gary
Gilbert and actors Zach Braff and
Natalie Portman. (248) 538-6611.