Kate Hudson, Josh Gad, Mandy Patinkin talk Zach Braff's "Wish I Was Here"

Zach Braff has his camera lens focused on the modern family in "Wish I Was Here."

Braff stars in the new fantasy drama, which he co-wrote with his brother, Adam. The former "Scrubs" actor also helmed the project -- his first time sitting in the director's chair on a film since his 2004 sleeper hit, "Garden State."

"Wish I Was Here" centers around a struggling actor (Braff) who home-schools his two children when his father (Mandy Patinkin) becomes too ill to keep paying for their private school education. Josh Gad plays Braff's brother, a schlub-type determined to win a costume contest at Comic Con.

Kate Hudson also co-stars as Braff's ever-patient wife, forced to keep an unbearable job in order to support the family.

Hudson said she's been good friends with Braff for a long time and jumped at the chance to appear in the project after reading the screenplay.

"The fact that I've related to his creation sort of reinforced why we have become so close over the years," Hudson said. "My response to [the script] was actually quite emotional."

Hudson said she was drawn to the timeliness of the film, as more and more mothers find themselves the sole income providers of their households.

"I thought it was extremely relevant to right now...Women who are sometimes the breadwinner or women who have real working lives and men who are now realizing that the dynamic of the family roles has changed just since the baby boomer generation," said the Oscar-nominated actress.

Gad pointed out that the film offers an alternative to all the action flicks, like "Transformers: Age of Extinction" and "Dawn of the Planet of the Apes," playing in theaters this movie season.

"When you have a summer that is as glutted with superhero films and monster films, it's good to have a palate-cleanser like this," the "Frozen" star said.

Patinkin admitted that he cried "like a baby" when he read the script and connected to the material, as he, too, is the father of two sons.

The 61-year-old "Homeland" star -- a Tony- and Emmy-winning veteran -- related a story from his youth as a theater student working on a production of the musical "Carousel." Patinkin was asked by his drama teacher about the message of the play; he was stumped at the time.

"[The teacher] said 'If you love someone, tell them,' and I think that's what this movie is about," Patinkin said. "It's about connecting and being awake. Waking up and not wasting the day. It's not the movie 'Groundhog Day.' It's called 'Wish I Was Here,' right this second."

Watch the video above to see Patinkin also share a story about how he landed the role after a chance meeting with Braff on the streets of New York. Also, Braff describes the advantages involved in funding the film through the crowd-sourcing site Kickstarter.

"Wish I Was Here" comes to theaters on Friday.

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    Ken Lombardi is an entertainment reporter for CBS News. He has interviewed over 300 celebrities, including Clint Eastwood, Oprah Winfrey and Tom Hanks.