Garden State (2004) Poster



Natalie Portman was Braff's first choice for the role of Sam but he never thought he would get her.
Natalie Portman was so embarrassed about the tap dancing scene that she made Zach Braff promise if it was bad that he would cut the scene entirely.
Zach Braff chose to not include a full love scene between him and Natalie Portman because he felt it would take the audience out of the movie too much. He wanted it to be implied and sweet rather than visual.
Method Man was nervous about saying "titties" in front of Natalie Portman.
The first public screening of the film was at a benefit in Detroit for a charity working with mentally challenged people. Members of the cast, specifically Natalie Portman and Zach Braff, were embarrassed and nervous about the word "retarded" being used throughout the film.
Zach Braff is seen in every single scene.
Natalie Portman was the only member of the cast to wear a safety harness on the crane in the quarry. Because of her size the crew was afraid she would slip and fall.
Based partly on Zach Braff's own childhood in New Jersey, as well as his days as a struggling actor in Los Angeles before the success of Scrubs (2001).
The tombstones in the pet cemetery were made by the cast and crew, and feature their own deceased pets' names.
The final scenes were shot in Terminal 4 at JFK International Airport in New York City. Production was unable to close the area for filming, so it was still a working terminal. The people walking by Natalie Portman and Zach Braff are real travelers.
When Zach Braff sent the script to people, he would also send them a copy of the songs which would eventually be the soundtrack (which he handpicked). That is why on the actual soundtrack album, all of the songs are in the order that they appear in the movie.
The depiction of 'Zach Braff''s character working in a Vietnamese restaurant was from his own experience. Braff worked as a waiter in a French-Vietnamese restaurant when he auditioned for the leading part in the series Scrubs (2001).
Zach Braff held meat in his hands to get the Dobermans to attack him at the front door to Sam's house.
Zach Braff wrote the majority of the script while he was in college, and originally titled it "Large's Ark". He tested the name on various messengers coming to his house during production, but none like the name. When he suggested "Large" no one liked it either. "Garden State" was well received. The original title still appears vestigially in the company credits, "Large's Ark Productions".
Gary Gilbert, a former mortgage banker, financed the film with $2.5 million of his own money. At Sundance, the film was bought by Miramax and Fox Searchlight for $5 million.
The motorcycle is a Russian/Ukrainian Dnepr.
The fog in the pool scene was real fog. Zach Braff and Natalie Portman described it as filming in a cloud.
Production had 3 cars slow down each lane to 10mph on the 405 freeway to create the essence of Los Angeles traffic because Zach Braff thought there wasn't enough traffic for the shot.
Peter Sarsgaard learned to play guitar for the film.
Zach Braff had to give a testimonial to JFK International Airport in order to film there. His testimonial was about how much he liked Terminal 4, the terminal used to film the final scenes of the movie.
In the scenes where Andrew, Mark, and Sam are walking together, Natalie Portman had a hard time keeping up with Zach Braff and Peter Sarsgaard because they are both so much taller than she is. She was out of breath after most takes because she had to walk so fast.
In order to get the automatic sinks in the airport bathroom to go off when Zach Braff walked by them production had PA's underneath the counter pressing the sensors when he hit his marks.
The movie was released on Wednesday, 28 July 2004, to eight theaters: three in Los Angeles, four in New York City, and the Maplewood Theatre in Maplewood, New Jersey. This was the home theater of Zach Braff (who is from the adjacent town of South Orange). He attended the Maplewood premiere, and his father, who still lives in the area, was at the theater for the film's first Friday and Saturday.
The cue for the seeing eye dog to mount was, "Love 'em up," while the cue for the dog to start humping was, "Who's your bitch?"
It was raining in every scene shot outdoors. Zach Braff described the weather as unusual in the DVD commentary saying in all of his years living in New Jersey he had never seen it rain so much in the month of May.
The "helmet" that Sam (Natalie Portman) is wearing on the motorcycle is actually a Rugby scrum-cap.
Sam's dead hamster, Jelly, was a real taxidermied hamster.
It took two days for set design to piece together the hamster habitat in Sam's house.
During the swimming pool scene (when Andrew cannot swim) the fog was not there for effect. The site was originally chosen because the Manhattan Skyline was clearly visible but it just happened to be incredibly foggy on the day of filming.
The music during the airplane scene is from a Ganesh alarm clock. The words are a prayer/song to the Hindu God.
Zach Braff drew partially on knowledge from his mother, a psychologist, his stepfather, also a psychologist, and his step mother, a therapist, to give scenes involving mentions of psychiatrics and pharmaceuticals authenticity.
On the commentary track, Natalie Portman admits she had never handled a vinyl record before making this movie. She had to be taught how to start a vintage "record player" properly for the scene in her bedroom.
While filming the funeral scenes most of the extras were Orthodox Jews and prevented the crew from shooting on Shabbat and craft service was forbidden from serving any non-Kosher food on the property lines.
Sam (Natalie Portman) says she works at a law office, but in Andrew's 4-day visit you never see or hear about her going to work.
Zach Braff's directorial debut.
Noise pollution was an issue throughout the neighborhood scenes. Zach Braff stated in the DVD commentary track that birds and airplanes were the biggest problems due to the high amount of trees and filming so close to Newark International Airport.
Rapper J Cole listed Garden State as his favorite movie
The house used as Jesse's mansion is Crocker Mansion, a real mansion in Mahwah, New Jersey.
The high school Andrew asks Sam if she went to, Columbia High, is the name of the high school Zach Braff attended in New Jersey. Columbia High School also makes a brief cutaway-shot appearance as Andrew, Sam and Mark are riding to the quarry in the military vehicle.
The only songs that do not appear on the soundtrack are "Orange Sky" by Alexi Murdoch, because the rights had already been sold to the WB to be used for Fox's The O.C. (2003) and its soundtrack. As well as "Love Will Come Through" by Travis, which was played in the trailer for the movie. The original version of "Such Great Heights" by Postal Service is also used for the film's trailer. A cover of this song by Iron & Wine can be heard in the film.
On the DVD commentary Zach Braff says that there were only 3 sets used when filming, everything else was filmed on location.
In the background dialog at the grave site, a character is trying to remember the name of the author of the novel, "Brave New World". The character ultimately concludes that the author is Aldous Huxtable - although the book was actually written by Aldous Huxley. "Huxtable" refers to the last name of the family in The Cosby Show.
Tim (Jim Parsons), the knight armor-donning nerd, speaks the fictional language Klingon, from the Star Trek series. Parsons would later play the intellectual, yet socially-confused and Star Trek-obsessed nerd Sheldon in the sitcom, "The Big Bang Theory".
During production in Los Angeles there was no traffic on the highway so Zach Braff had three cars drive ahead of the crew at 10 mph.
The classical piece Mark is playing on the guitar in his room is "Adelita" by Francisco Tárrega. It is also the song to which Sam is iceskating shown on tape.
Sam's age is never revealed.
At the funeral, there is a picture of Andrew's mother on display. The woman in the picture is actress Diane Salinger.
The Vietnamese restaurant in Los Angeles in the beginning is actually a Thai restaurant - Sea in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, New York. Walking through the kitchen the background voices can be heard conversing in Thai, not Vietnamese.
Michael Weston, who plays Kenny the police officer, would later guest star in season 6 of Scrubs in 2006 with Zach Braff as the brain damaged Private Brian Dancer.
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Peter Sarsgaard's character Mark collects Desert Storm playing cards, then in 2005 plays a Marine Scout sniper in Desert Storm in Jarhead (2005).
Zach Braff's good friend Joshua Radin appears as one of the party goers trying to have Zach Braff's character smoke the joint
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The Headphones Portman was wearing are Aiwa HP-X223.
Producer Gary Gilbert and his brother Dan Gilbert started a mortgage company named Rock, but Gary Gilbert decided to move to California and get into the film industry. Dan Gilbert is the owner of the Cleveland Cavaliers.
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