Ten years after Garden State, Zach Braff returns with his second feature, Wish I Was Here. It’s not a sequel, though fans will recognize thematic and musical similarities between the films, beginning with the Shins song that plays over the new film’s first trailer.
In the film, which co-stars Josh Gad, Kate Hudson, and Mandy Patinkin, Braff plays a struggling actor who relies on his conservative-Jewish father’s wealth to finance his children’s private-school education. When dad gets sick and has his own expensive medical bills, though, Braff decides to home-school the kids and keep alive his flagging career, while his wife works a full-time job. “How long is one allowed to hold onto one’s dream while you’re briefly here on Earth?” asks Braff, explaining the film. “And when do you have a shift and go, ‘Okay, I have a family now. I have to take care of my family.’ We thought that was a pretty universal story that a lot of people could relate to.”
Watch the first trailer below:
Wish I Was Here premiered at Sundance in January and will open in theaters on July 25. Along with Veronica Mars, Wish was one of the most high-profile Kickstarter campaigns, and the industry will certainly be watching to see how the film performs. Creatively, Braff is thrilled with the Kickstarter route, because it allowed him complete control, especially over casting. “Let me say it succinctly: Mandy Patinkin wouldn’t be in the film without the fans,” says Braff. “When my fans make me the CEO of the corporation that’s making the movie, the possibilities open up that aren’t there in a normal world.”