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“I Wept Like a Baby”: Mandy Patinkin on Reading Zach Braff’s Movie Script

Zach Braff’s new film, ‘Wish I Was Here,’ is the viral media gift that keeps on giving: first there was the (controversially) crowd-sourced fundraiser on Kickstarter, then there was the much-hyped Sundance debut, then there was the teaser trailer, and now—finally!—the full-length trailer, featuring a dog called Kugel and a rabbi who thinks personal happiness is overrated.

Braff—who wrote, directed, produced, and starred in the film—appeared on the Today Show this morning with co-star Mandy Patinkin to promote the trailer (which features a new song from Garden State darlings The Shins, written specifically for the movie).

The casting of the Homeland star, it seems, was bashert: the two actors bumped into each other on the streets of New York, and Braff had to work up the courage to approach his childhood idol. “I’m so shy around famous people,” he explained. “But with Mandy I’m a lifelong fan… I was like, ‘C’mon, get your courage. You have to go talk to Mandy Patinkin.'”

A few months after the initial encounter, they ran into each other again. “We were at Fairway having breakfast,” said Patinkin, “and he said ‘I got this movie.’ I read it, I wept like a baby when I read it, it was about family, it was about my sons and the connection to my sons, everything I wish for in a story; if you love somebody, tell them… you only get so many [days], don’t waste it. He asked me and I went, ‘What, are you kidding?!’ He took one of those little selfies and we were off and running.”

Patinkin plays Gabe Bloom, the ailing father of Aidan Bloom (Braff), a thirty-something actor who is flailing spiritually and professionally. Highlights from the trailer include: a dog named kugel! A very old, mean rabbi who doesn’t care about happiness! An adorable child who thinks “hairy balls” is cursing! Jim Parsons holding a mask! The release date is July 18.


Related: Network Jews: Saul Berenson from Showtime’s Homeland
Zach Braff On His New Role In “Bullets Over Broadway” And Being An Emo Kid

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