Wednesday night, the beloved television series Scrubs aired its final episode (possibly of the entire series). While this may be the end for Zach Braff, his best friend and co-star Donald Faison is immediately following his role as the lovable surgeon Chris Turk with the release of his new film, Next Day Air, costarring Mike Epps and Mos Def. In a recent conference call, Faison discussed his transition back to film, future career prospects and his very peculiar new hobby.
What inspired you to become an actor?
I wanted to be Han Solo growing up, more than anything. I wanted to save the galaxy, save the girl and kick a bunch of ass while doing it. Once I realized that NASA wasn’t even close to warp speed or light speed, I realized that it’s only in the movies where things are happily ever after. That’s what made me want to be an actor. You learn those lessons pretty young.
How are you feeling about the end of Scrubs? Is it bittersweet? Do you think that the season has kind of come to a good conclusion or are you feeling a little open-ended?
First off, we don’t know [...] if this is the end of Scrubs, at all. I’m going to put that out there. I’ll say I don’t know what’s going to happen. There’s been a lot of rumors on the Internet and a lot of rumors over at ABC that there’s a possibility that the show will come back again. And if it does, that’s great. If it doesn’t, we finished the show the way we wanted to finish the show. So, everybody gets to say their goodbye and everybody gets to wrap up their story too. So, I’m definitely content with the way Scrubs ended.
If there were to be a Season 9 would you be on board?
Yeah. If it all worked out the right way. I don’t see how I could say no.
If you had to pick a scene or an episode of Scrubs over the past seasons what would you say is your favorite?
I liked getting married on the show. That was a lot of fun. That seemed like an acting adventure. I really enjoyed playing Han Solo and Indiana Jones on Scrubs. And if I had to choose a scene that I loved the most it would be when J.D. and Turk went testicle shopping to find a new testicle for Turk.
How would you say your relationship is with Zach off the air versus on the air? Do you have the same relationship as on the show?
Yeah, it’s the same relationship. The crazy thing is now that we’re not working with each other every day we’ve gone off to live our lives and stuff like that. But, he is my best friend. He, J.D., Turk and myself — it’s almost like we’re the same people.
What interested you most about doing Next Day Air as compared to doing a TV show?
Just the fact that I got to work with Wood Harris again [...] and compared to doing a television show, it’s always cool to play a character that at the end of the shoot you no longer will play again most likely.
Your roles usually don’t involve playing a criminal. What preparations did you go through to get into the character?
Well, I went and stole a lot of stuff and started smoking a crap load of weed just to make sure I was in character, and that was about it [laughs].
No, I’m just playing. I think everybody has someone in their family who’s pretty much some kind of criminal. So, it’s not that, I don’t think it’s that hard to play someone who’s a little bit edgier. It’s definitely not hard to play someone a little edgier than Turk and Murray from Clueless.
Do you think Next Day Air is going to stack up to what Clueless did for your career?
Oh, I don’t know. I doubt it. Clueless was the [...] thing that set it off. Do I want Next Day Air to be amazing and people go see it? Yes. But, it’s kind of hard to recreate the movie that introduced you to mainstream audiences. So, no. I don’t expect that to happen. I really hope that people do go out and see the movie. If as many people that saw Clueless see Next Day Air that’s awesome.
You’ve worked in comedy for a long time now. But on Scrubs you’ve done a very good job of proving that you can create really sad and bittersweet moments. Are you happy to stay in comedy in the future or would you like to make the transition to more dramatic roles?
I just want to — I want to do well. I want to keep doing good work. If I get lucky enough to get a drama that I’m able to pull off I definitely would take it in a heartbeat.
I get it that I’m in comedies and stuff like that and people seem to think that I’m good at it and that’s cool. Do I want to do drama? Dude, I want to do everything and anything that I possibly can as long as I connect with it.
What is your favorite scene from Next Day Air?
My favorite scene in Next Day Air was … the scene with Most Def. The reason why I say this is because I’ve always liked Most Def and his style of acting, one. Two, I think he’s an amazing rapper. He’s a phenomenal rapper. Three, he’s an activist. Four, he’s a poet. The list goes on with this guy.
What has been your most challenging role?
I’ve been very lucky. I’m gonna be honest with you I don’t think any of the roles that I’ve played so far I’ve had to dig really deep to play them.
I think they’ve been pretty straightforward with what I have to do. It’s definitely a challenge to be an actor, for sure….and [to] deal with no’s all the time. But if anything, doing Remember the Titans was a challenge because I feel like I’m friends with everybody and it [was] weird to feel like there are two different sides and two different races of people….And in Remember the Titans that’s what we kind of had to portray: that whites were whites and blacks were blacks and there’s no integration in between.
Now that you’ve finished a couple of really big projects, I’m wondering if there’s anything in particular that you’d like to do to take advantage of your free time.
I’m a huge fan of stop motion animation and I’d really like to get better at that. I’ve been working on it a little bit in my spare time now. But I really like making things move. Like making puppets move and making people wondering how I did that.
So, if anything I’ll probably take a couple of classes or something like that in that field, in the animation field.