During a pivotal moment in Zach Braff’s new movie, A Good Person, lead actress Florence Pugh stands on the platform at the South Orange train station waiting for her ride into Manhattan. It’s the same place where Braff, who grew up in South Orange and Maplewood, waited countless times as a teen on his way to auditions in New York, yearning to make his showbiz dreams come true.
Braff, who wrote and directed A Good Person, could have filmed that scene—and the entire movie—in any town in the United States. He could have set the story—which revolves around a woman (Pugh) dealing with tragedy, addiction and an unlikely and complicated friendship with her ex-fiancé’s father (played by Morgan Freeman)—anywhere. But for Braff, it’s always been about New Jersey.
“I love my hometown and I want to tell stories about my hometown,” he says.
In recent years, a growing number of productions have opted to shoot in New Jersey, after Governor Phil Murphy reinstated tax incentives for film and television projects in 2018. But what sets Braff apart from many of his…