Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson is speaking out about Harvey Weinstein and confirms the disgraced producer prevented actresses Ashley Judd and Mira Sorvino from appearing in the LOTR trilogy.
Both Judd and Sorvino went public with their claims that Weinstein sexually harassed them, and that they both were denied roles in Jackson’s Lord of the Rings films because of what the brothers (Harvey and Bob Weinstein) had said about them.
Jackson had been in talks to produce the Rings with Weinstein’s Miramax, before going on to make a trilogy with New Line Cinema.
In an interview with Stuff, Jackson said he had expressed interest in casting both actresses, but “I recall Miramax telling us they were a nightmare to work with and we should avoid them at all costs. This was probably in 1998,” he said.
He said at the time he had no reason to doubt the recommendation not to cast them and did not do so, but says in retrospect is was very likely a “smear campaign in full swing.”
“I now suspect we were fed false information about both of these talented women – and as a direct result their names were removed from our casting list,” he said.
Judd and Sorvino both responded on Twitter after reading Jackson’s comments on Stuff.
“I remember this well,” Judd wrote.
“Just seeing this after I awoke, I burst out crying,” Sorvino wrote. “There it is, confirmation that Harvey Weinstein derailed my career, something I suspected but was unsure. Thank you Peter Jackson for being honest. I’m just heartsick.”
Jackson said he had “no direct experience or knowledge of the sexual allegations” against Weinstein but had earlier made a conscious decision to never work with him or his brother again, saying both were difficult to work with.
“My experience, when Miramax controlled the Lord of the Rings (before New Line took over production), was of Weinstein and his brother behaving like second-rate Mafia bullies. They weren’t the type of guys I wanted to work with – so I haven’t,” he said.