CHEAPER BY THE DOZEN Interview: Zach Braff On His First Family Comedy And Possible SCRUBS Revival (Exclusive)

Zach Braff talks about going from Scrubs to his first family movie, his go-to breakfast for dinner choice, pulling off some undeniably impressive moves for a "dance battle," and the Baker family dynamic.

Cheaper by the Dozen is a fresh take on the 2003 hit family comedy and tells the story of the raucous exploits of a blended family of 12, the Bakers, as they navigate a hectic home life while simultaneously managing their family business. As we noted in our review, this is a fun-filled family comedy that has plenty of heart and a strong message at its core which definitely leaves a lasting impact.

We're sure many of you will know Zach Braff best for starring in hit sitcom Scrubs, though the actor has also made his mark on the stage and behind the camera with projects like Garden State and Ted Lasso. In this movie, however, he plays Paul, a dad who is looking to give his family everything they've ever wanted. However, expanding their successful restaurant - which serves breakfast all day - takes Paul away from home...just when his wife's ex-husband, a former football player, makes his return! 

It's a great role for Braff in what is actually his first family movie, and one which delivers a lot of laughs. In this interview, we find out what drew him to Cheaper by the Dozen and even get a very positive update on the possibility of Scrubs returning in the not too distant future. Along the way, the actor talks about hanging out with the kids on set, shooting a key scene, and preparing for a dance battle!

Check out our interview with Braff about his Cheaper by the Dozen role in the player below:
 


So, something that really stood out to me was breakfast for dinner because that’s something I’ve loved ever since being introduced to “Brinner” in Scrubs

[Laughs] Yes! You’re right, JD and Turk are obsessed with brinner. I actually like brinner in real life too, but for Paul, this character, it’s dogma. It’s his passion.

Well, I am curious on that note what your go-to is when it comes to breakfast for dinner?

Oh, man. I mean, eggs and waffles I would love. Even just a bagel with lox and cream cheese and capers. Pancakes. Anything!

All the good stuff. Of course, another thing about the film that stands out is the dance battle, so I’m curious - how many of those moves were you bringing to the table that were actually yours?

None really! I had to have, like, boot camp. TikTok, hip-hop dancing coaches and practice…we rehearsed that scene for two weeks. Now, a decent dancer wouldn’t have had to rehearse that for two weeks, but we did. It was fun. I learned a lot. I mean, I could moonwalk a little bit from a former part, but doing all the stuff we had to do was fun. It was a blast. I was nervous because even after we rehearsed for two weeks, I had to do it before all the audience that was at the game.

To me, Scrubs is the best sitcom of all time - 

Wow, thank you so much. 

I know it might sound like hyperbole, but -

Are you listening to the podcast?

I am! I love the podcast.

Okay, good, good.

I feel like you know your stuff when it comes to comedy, particularly having starred in a series like that, so when a project like this comes along, is there anything, in particular, you look at that appeals to you as an actor?

I’m curious because I haven’t done much family stuff. Scrubs was pretty risque as you know, and I played Chicken Little, but other than that, I knew if I was going to do a family movie, I wanted it to be something that I, as an adult, would laugh at as well. We all know those kid movies where parents have to roll their eyes at how dumb something is. I wanted to do something where an adult would love it just as much as the kid sitting next to them. They would each find different things to laugh at. When I read the script written by Kenya Barris, who is such a talented writer, I was laughing on every page. I said, ‘Kids are going to love this, adults are going to love this. This is a great first family movie for me to do.’ That’s what really drew me to it.

We see in the film that Paul and Zoey do such a great job of looking after these amazing kids, but for you and Gabrielle, how did you go about sharing the challenge on set of shepherding all these different children?

You know, Gab has kids for real, so she was a little more of the bad cop. I was the good cop because I was just playing around them like Uncle Zach. They were saying, ‘We want to wrestle and try and bang our heads against the wall with this bucket.’ I’m like, ‘Let’s do it!’ [Laughs] Gab had to be the one to say, ‘Okay, everybody stop. Zach, please stop - let’s bring it down.’ I think I was another child. 

This is such a great family comedy, but I loved the message in there with Paul being this dad of an interracial family and seeing you speak to Timon’s character about what that means. Was that something that jumped off the page to you in the sense you could delve into something a little more serious?

Yes, of course! I was very impressed that Disney and Kenya were not just going to gloss over it. That conversation we have on the front porch about being a caucasian man raising an African American child and he’s the African American dad…that scene I thought was so well-written by Kenya and I thought, ‘Good for Disney for really going at it. They’re not just going to do a happy, smiley, glossy version. They’re really going to get into it a little bit.’ Kenya is the perfect writer to do that and I was just really proud to be part of something that was going to be hilarious and smart, but also take on challenges like a disabled child, a woman suffering depression, and a child questioning her sexuality, all while being a funny family movie. 

Finally, we’ve seen reunions recently for everything from Friends to Harry Potter and The Fresh Prince; do you think the Scrubs team could get back together for something like that and, I’m sure you get asked this a lot, but a full-blown revival of the show one day?

I don’t know. I do get asked it every single day, even when I’m not doing a press junket. For now, we’re going to stick with our podcast - Fake Doctors, Real Friends - and if you’re not listening, please check it out. You can get it wherever you get your podcasts. I think one day, because there’s so much clamouring for it (which I’m so grateful for), that I imagine there will be some incarnation. Whether it’s a TV movie or limited series or something. We’ll do something.

I certainly hope so. I can’t wait for that and cannot wait for people to check this film out. Such a pleasure to speak to you.

Thank you, man. You’re so kind. We should just end with this guy. He’s amazing. I think, no more press. How can anyone top this gentleman? Let’s just get out of here [Laughs]. Thank you!

Cheaper by the Dozen premieres on Disney+ on March 18!
 

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