Zack Sharf
Zack Sharf
Zack Sharf is the New York–based News Editor at IndieWire, where he is responsible for running the site’s daily news flow, in addition to crafting larger editorial pieces and covering special events. Prior to joining IndieWire, he received his B.A. in Media Studies from Emerson College, where he worked the Boston press circuit for three years as Managing Editor of the school’s film organization, Reel Reactions. Zack has also worked in the web and editorial department of NYC’s leading news station, WABC-TV. He has a sweet spot for “Before Sunset,” black labs, Julianne Moore, and “The Iron Giant.” Follow him @ZSharf.Source
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'Borat 2' Composer Eager to Perform 'Wuhan Flu' Song at Oscars If It Lands Nomination

'Borat 2' Composer Eager to Perform 'Wuhan Flu' Song at Oscars If It Lands Nomination

“” was a family affair for Sacha and . The older brother of comedian Sacha, Erran is a composer and trumpet player who created the musical score for the Amazon Prime Video comedy sequel. Being the “Borat 2” composer also meant Erran contributed lyrics to the film’s “Wuhan Flu” singalong sequence, performed by Sacha in disguise at a far-right rally in Washington. It’s now an unexpected Oscar contender for Best Original Song, and Erran is all for performing “Wuhan Flu” on Hollywood’s biggest night.“I would love to, if we could travel then,” Erran told . “I think that would be one of the best...

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Zack Sharf
4d ago
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Christopher Nolan Says Fellow Directors Have Called to Complain About His 'Inaudible' Sound

Christopher Nolan Says Fellow Directors Have Called to Complain About His 'Inaudible' Sound

The sound design in ’s movies is known to among moviegoers, but it turns out Nolan’s fellow filmmakers have also expressed annoyance with being unable to hear the director’s dialogue. Most Nolan releases, from “” to “The Dark Knight Rises” to this year’s “,” spark the question: are Nolan movies too loud? The director has in the past, and he says in Tom Shone’s new book “The Nolan Variations” that he’s surprised how “conservative” moviegoers are about cinematic sound.“We got a lot of complaints,” Nolan said about the “Interstellar” sound design. “I actually got calls from other filmmakers...

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Zack Sharf
Nov 12
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George Lucas' 'Star Wars' Sequel Trilogy Made Leia 'the Chosen One' and Darth Maul the Villain

George Lucas' 'Star Wars' Sequel Trilogy Made Leia 'the Chosen One' and Darth Maul the Villain

provides new details about his original plan for the “” sequel trilogy in Taschen’s upcoming book “The Star Wars Archives: 1999-2005” (via ). Perhaps the biggest revelation is that Lucas intended to resurrect “Star Wars: The Phantom Menace” villain and turn him into the main antagonist of the trilogy. Darth Maul would appear with “mechanical legs” and “become the godfather of crime in the universe because, as the Empire falls, he takes over.”“Darth Maul trained a girl, Darth Talon, who was in the comic books, as his apprentice,” Lucas continues, “She was the new Darth Vader and most of the...

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Zack Sharf
Nov 11
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'Borat 2' Movie Posters Ignite Controversy in France by Offending French Muslims

'Borat 2' Movie Posters Ignite Controversy in France by Offending French Muslims

’s “ 2” arrived in the U.S. with an explosion of controversy surrounding the film’s , but in France it’s the sequel’s official poster that’s stirring outrage. A report from states that the “” poster has offended many French Muslims as Baron Cohen appears almost naked and wearing a ring engraved with the Arabic word “Allah.” The is the same as the film’s U.S. poster.The Times reports that some French Muslims have “used social media to accuse [French] authorities of provocation and insulting Islam” with the “Borat 2” poster. The publication adds: “Muslim sensitivities and the freedom to mock...

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Zack Sharf
Nov 5
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John Boyega: Studios Need to Speak Up and Protect Actors from Racist, Sexist Online Abuse

John Boyega: Studios Need to Speak Up and Protect Actors from Racist, Sexist Online Abuse

is calling on film studios to speak up in support of actors who become the target of racist and/or sexist online abuse. Boyega experienced toxic fandom firsthand as a Black man leading the most recent “” trilogy, a franchise that saw cast members Daisy Ridley and Kelly Marie Tran also receive an abundance of from fans upset with the inclusive casting. Toxic fandom has also made Brie Larson of “Captain Marvel” and Lashana Lynch of “No Time to Die” the victims of online abuse, among others.In an interview with this week, Boyega said studios must get publicly involved in the fight against...

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Zack Sharf
Nov 5
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Chris Rock Sounds Off on Hating Civil Rights Movies: 'They Make Racism Look Very Fixable'

Chris Rock Sounds Off on Hating Civil Rights Movies: 'They Make Racism Look Very Fixable'

has a bone to pick with movies. During a recent appearance on Neal Brennan’s (via ), the “” actor sounded off on films that deal with Civil Rights struggles and said the issue with the majority of these films is that they “make racism look very fixable.” Rock said the stories his mother used to tell him about the Civil Rights Movement era make it clear these films should be “dirtier,” if they want to be accurate.“I hate all Civil Rights movies,” Rock said. “Don’t get me wrong, I applaud the effort and they should exist. The problem is they only show the back of the bus and the lunch...

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Zack Sharf
Nov 2
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John Boyega Met with Disney Exec for 'Honest' Discussion About 'Star Wars' Sidelining POC Characters

John Boyega Met with Disney Exec for 'Honest' Discussion About 'Star Wars' Sidelining POC Characters

says in a new interview with that a executive reached out to him following his September in which he criticized the studio for its treatment of POC characters in the most recent “” trilogy. Boyega starred in three “Star Wars” films as Finn, while Kelly Marie Tran debuted as Rose Tico in “The Last Jedi.” Both characters had been largely sidelined from the main story by the third film in the series, “The Rise of Skywalker.”“It’s so difficult to manoeuver,” Boyega told GQ earlier this year. “You get yourself involved in projects and you’re not necessarily going to like everything. [But] what I...

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Zack Sharf
Nov 2
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'Borat 2' Fans Crowdfunding Thousands of Dollars to Compensate Babysitter Jeanise Jones

'Borat 2' Fans Crowdfunding Thousands of Dollars to Compensate Babysitter Jeanise Jones

In a movie full of appearances by QAnon conspiracy theorists, far-right radicals, and a handsy Rudy Giuliani, 62-year-old comes out of “” looking like a star. Jones appears in the film as a hired babysitter for the Borat character’s daughter Tutar, played by breakout actress Maria Bakalova. Jones has earned fans for showing empathy toward Tutar, assuring her she does not need plastic surgery to attract a man and opposing Borat’s decision to marry Tutar off to an older man. Jones advises Tutar that to “be happy” she should “use [her] brain.”Jones gave an interview to the in which she said...

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Zack Sharf
Oct 27
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Sigourney Weaver Filmed 'Avatar 2' Underwater by Tying Weights to Herself, Holding Breath for Six Minutes

Sigourney Weaver Filmed 'Avatar 2' Underwater by Tying Weights to Herself, Holding Breath for Six Minutes

last month his long-in-the-works “ 2” was “100 percent complete,” while a second sequel was close behind at “95 percent completion.” is one of the franchise’s returning actors, reuniting with Cameron after “Aliens” and “Avatar,” and she reveals in a new interview with some of the demanding prep work that was required to pull off the “Avatar” sequels. Cameron has said the first sequel explores the underwater worlds of the fictional Pandora, which forced Weaver and the actors to be able to perform while submerged.Weaver told the Times she spent a large part of her prep work deep sea diving in...

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Zack Sharf
Oct 20
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Emilia Clarke Fought 'Thrones' Team Over Making Daenerys Too 'Cold and Expressionless'

Emilia Clarke Fought 'Thrones' Team Over Making Daenerys Too 'Cold and Expressionless'

reveals in the new “” book “Fire Cannot Kill a Dragon” that she pushed back against the series’ creative team on several occasions when they gave her notes on how to play her character Daenerys that she did not want to follow (via ). Clarke said it was important for her to inject Daenerys with a level of humanity that viewers would relate to, and she refused to allow anyone involved with the show to make her character too “cold and expressionless.”“There was a number of times I was like, ‘Why are you giving me that note?'” Clarke told “Fire” author James Hibberd. “While I am quite...

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Zack Sharf
Oct 21
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Kate Winslet: 'What the F*ck Was I Doing Working with Woody Allen and Roman Polanski?'

Kate Winslet: 'What the F*ck Was I Doing Working with Woody Allen and Roman Polanski?'

is sounding off on her regrets over working with on “Wonder Wheel” and on “Carnage.” Allen has been accused of molesting his adopted daughter Dylan Farrow when she was a child, while Polanski was arrested in 1977 for raping a 13-year-old girl. Ahead of the world premiere of her new romance “Ammonite,” Winslet tells it’s disgraceful that Hollywood held the two controversial filmmakers in high regard for so long.“It’s like, what the fuck was I doing working with Woody Allen and Roman Polanski?” Winslet said. “It’s unbelievable to me now how those men were held in such high regard, so widely...

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Zack Sharf
Sep 10
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Sacha Baron Cohen Back for 'Borat 2' and Is Already Done Filming the Sequel— Report

Sacha Baron Cohen Back for 'Borat 2' and Is Already Done Filming the Sequel— Report

A sequel to ’s blockbuster 2006 comedy “: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan” has been shot and screened “for a select few industry types,” Collider’s Jeff Sneider based on confirmations from multiple sources. The sources say “Borat 2” finds Cohen’s Kazakh journalist “thinking he’s a big movie star after the success of the original 2006 film made him famous, so he’s trying to hide from the public by pretending to be someone else, and starts meeting and interviewing people incognito.”Cohen has been popping up in the news over the last several months...

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Zack Sharf
Sep 8
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'Mulan' Backlash Grows Over Filming in Xinjiang, Site of Reported Human Rights Abuses

'Mulan' Backlash Grows Over Filming in Xinjiang, Site of Reported Human Rights Abuses

’s live-action “” adaptation has been at the for a year after lead actress Liu Yifei showed support on social media for Hong Kong’s police, who have been accused of violence towards pro-democracy protesters, but a new controversy is erupting now that the film has been made available on Disney+. According to reports from and , Disney filmed “Mulan” in ’s Xinjiang province and included a “special thanks” in the film’s credit sequence to the “publicity department of CPC Xinjiang Uighur Autonomy Region Committee.” Xinjiang is a province where human rights abuses have been reported, including...

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Zack Sharf
Sep 8
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Netflix Apologizes for Inappropriate 'Cuties' Poster Amid Outrage Over Sexualizing Children

Netflix Apologizes for Inappropriate 'Cuties' Poster Amid Outrage Over Sexualizing Children

has issued a statement apologizing for the marketing around its upcoming original film “,” directed by French filmmaker Maïmouna Doucouré. The movie world premiered at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival, where it won the World Cinema Dramatic Directing Award and earned Doucouré a spot on IndieWire’s of rising women directors to know. Netflix received backlash over the film after it debuted a poster for the film August 18 that many believed sexualized children.“We’re deeply sorry for the inappropriate artwork that we used for Mignonnes/Cuties,” a Netflix spokesperson said. “It was not OK, nor...

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Zack Sharf
Aug 20
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Idris Elba Says Racist Films and TV Shouldn't Be Censored: Add Warning Labels Instead

Idris Elba Says Racist Films and TV Shouldn't Be Censored: Add Warning Labels Instead

Idris Elba has an issue with the handful of films and television programs being removed from streaming platforms and the airwaves over racist content such as blackface. Over the last couple months, episodes of “30 Rock,” “The Golden Girls,” “The Office,” “Scrubs,” and more have been pulled for featuring blackface. Elba says in a new interview with Radio Times that these controversial episodes should not have been erased but updated with a warning or rating to ensure viewers know what racist content the programs contain. “I’m very much a believer in freedom of speech,” Elba said. “But the...

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Zack Sharf
Jul 15
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James Gunn Reveals Warner Bros. Wouldn't Allow Him to Make Velma Gay in 'Scooby-Doo'

James Gunn Reveals Warner Bros. Wouldn't Allow Him to Make Velma Gay in 'Scooby-Doo'

Long before became one of Hollywood’s most exciting tentpole directors thanks to his work on the “Guardians of the Galaxy” franchise, he got his start in the studio system writing the scripts for Warner Bros.’ live-action “” movies. The 2002 “Scooby-Doo” release was directed by Raja Gosnell and was a box office hit with just over $257 million worldwide. The film was followed by a 2004 sequel, “Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed,” which reunited Gunn and Gosnell. Gunn recently revealed on Twitter that it was his plan from the start to make Velma “explicitly gay” in his “Scooby-Doo” movies, but...

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Zack Sharf
Jul 13
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Christopher Nolan’s Team Clarifies What He Bans From Set, and It's Not Chairs — Exclusive

Christopher Nolan’s Team Clarifies What He Bans From Set, and It's Not Chairs — Exclusive

does not ban chairs from his movie sets, a spokesperson for the director has confirmed to IndieWire. Social media over an alleged chair ban on Nolan’s sets erupted June 29 after Variety published an “Actors on Actors” video interview between and Hugh Jackman in which the former complimented Nolan’s decision not to allow chairs on set. Hathaway has appeared in Nolan’s blockbusters “The ” and “Interstellar.”“For the record, the only things banned from [Christopher Nolan’s] sets are cell phones (not always successfully) and smoking (very successfully),” Nolan’s spokesperson Kelly Bush Novak of...

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Zack Sharf
Jun 30
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Film Critics Sound Off on Christopher Nolan's 'No Chairs' Rule, Which Isn't Entirely True

Film Critics Sound Off on Christopher Nolan's 'No Chairs' Rule, Which Isn't Entirely True

’s “no chairs on set” rule has gone viral after the director’s “Interstellar” and “The Dark Knight Rises” actress Anne Hathaway brought it up during a recent interview with Hugh Jackman on Variety’s . Nolan fans have known about the rule for quite some time, as “Dunkirk” actors Mark Rylance and Barry Keoghan told in 2017 that Nolan bans chairs and water bottles on set. Hathaway appeared complimentary about Nolan’s decision.“He doesn’t allow chairs, and his reasoning is, if you have chairs, people will sit, and if they’re sitting, they’re not working,” the Oscar-winning actress said “I mean,...

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Zack Sharf
Jun 30
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'The Wire' Favorite Wendell Pierce Launches Campaign to Be the New Voice of Cleveland

'The Wire' Favorite Wendell Pierce Launches Campaign to Be the New Voice of Cleveland

, the fan favorite actor from “” and recent star of “Clemency” and “Burning Cane,” has launched a social media campaign to be the new voice actor of Cleveland on “.” Mike Henry, the original voice of Cleveland, he would be stepping away from the long-running Fox animated sitcom over the racial insensitivity of his casting.“It’s been an honor to play Cleveland on ‘Family Guy’ for 20 years,” Henry wrote on social media. “I love this character, but persons of color should play characters of color. Therefore, I will be stepping down from the role.”Henry’s “Family Guy” exit followed in the...

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Zack Sharf
Jun 29
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A Real 'Ex Machina'? An A.I. Robot Learns Method Acting to Star in $70 Million Film

A Real 'Ex Machina'? An A.I. Robot Learns Method Acting to Star in $70 Million Film

What if Alex Garland’s 2014 science-fiction favorite “” starred a real artificially intelligent robot as Ava instead of Alicia Vikander? Moviegoers are about to find out, sort of. Bondit Capital Media, Happy Moon Productions, and Ten Ten Global Media are putting forward $70 million to produce “,” a science-fiction movie that is set to star the A.I. robot in the leading role (via , as first reported by THR). The companies are touting “b” as the first movie in history to be led by an actor who is an A.I. robot.“b” follows a scientist who must help the A.I. robot he created reach freedom after...

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Zack Sharf
Jun 25
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Edgar Wright 'Never Liked' Seth MacFarlane After 'Scott Pilgrim' Box Office Insult

Edgar Wright 'Never Liked' Seth MacFarlane After 'Scott Pilgrim' Box Office Insult

’s “” is celebrating its 10th anniversary this summer, but the film would’ve been completely different had Universal Pictures had its way with casting. In a new oral history of the film published by , Wright reveals that Donna Langley, Universal’s president of production at the time, pitched Seth Rogen to play the leading role.Rogen at the time was coming off the breakthrough success of Judd Apatow’s “Knocked Up,” which earned Universal $219 million worldwide on a $30 million budget. While Wright loved Seth Rogen, it was a casting decision he “couldn’t get [his] head around.”“ was the only...

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Zack Sharf
Jun 24
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Hans Zimmer Says He's Driving 'Dune' Team Crazy with So Many Score Ideas and Experiments

Hans Zimmer Says He's Driving 'Dune' Team Crazy with So Many Score Ideas and Experiments

Does ever get tired of writing original scores for movies? Yes, but then projects like ’s “” come along. In a new interview with , the Oscar-winning composer says the possibilities for the “Dune” score are so endless that “I’m driving everybody crazy because I’m so full of ideas.” Zimmer is in the middle of drafting compositions and experimenting with sounds for the “Dune” score, and he calls collaborating with Villeneuve “totally and utterly inspiring.”“Right now I’m in the middle of making these sounds,” Zimmer said. “I just have these ideas, and it’s like this every day. I’m doing all...

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Zack Sharf
Jun 24
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'Lord of the Rings' Series Puts Out Casting Call for Hairy, Burned, and 'Funny Looking' Actors

'Lord of the Rings' Series Puts Out Casting Call for Hairy, Burned, and 'Funny Looking' Actors

James Cameron’s “Avatar” sequels are already in New Zealand, and the next massive Hollywood project expected to resume filming in the country is ’s “Lord of the Rings” television series. New Zealand talent agency BGT Actors Models & Talent has issued an open casting call for “funny looking” actors or people with scars, burns, missing bones, and more (via ) to most likely appear as extras in the series. BGT provided extras for Peter Jackson’s “Lord of the Rings” film franchise.BGT is located in New Zealand’s largest city, Auckland, and is calling for actors in the area who have “facial...

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Zack Sharf
Jun 25
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Eric Andre Refused to Let 'Middle-Aged White People' at Netflix Cut Police Joke From Special

Eric Andre Refused to Let 'Middle-Aged White People' at Netflix Cut Police Joke From Special

is front and center in ’s upcoming comedy special “,” launching June 23, but the comedian had to push back against Netflix to keep at least one joke in the special’s final cut. “Legalize Everything” begins with a sketch of Andre posing as a police officer in New Orleans and handing out drugs to strangers on the street. The bit should surprise no one who loves the shock comedy of Andre’s eponymous Adult Swim series, but Andre tells that some “middle-aged white people” at Netflix urged him to remove the joke given the nationwide climate after the death of George Floyd. The comedian...

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Zack Sharf
Jun 16
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Bryce Dallas Howard: 'We Can All Go Further' Than Streaming 'The Help' Right Now

Bryce Dallas Howard: 'We Can All Go Further' Than Streaming 'The Help' Right Now

“” had a on Netflix last week as the 2011 drama became the streaming giant’s most-watched movie amid global protests over the killing of George Floyd. Several film critics and journalists against the film’s white savior storyline and offered better films from black storytellers to watch in the current climate. One critic of watching “The Help” in this moment ended up being actress , who plays the villainous Hillary “Hilly” Walters Holbrook in the movie. Howard took to her to admit “The Help” is perhaps not the best film to learn about civil rights.“I’ve heard that ‘The Help’ is the most...

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Zack Sharf
Jun 8
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