Director Peter Jackson claimed that Harvey Weinstein told him not to cast Mira Sorvino and Ashley Judd, two of the women who have accused Weinstein of sexual harassment, in The Lord of the Rings trilogy.
“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,” Jackson said in an interview with New Zealand media outlet Stuff on Thursday, December 14. “At the time, we had no reason to question what these guys were telling us — but in hindsight, I realize that this was very likely the Miramax 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 added.
Both women took to Twitter to respond to Jackson after the story broke.
“Just seeing this after I awoke, I burst out crying,” Sorvino tweeted on Friday, December 15. “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.”
Judd wrote “I remember this well,” on Twitter after his interview was published.
The disgraced movie producer released a statement disputing Jackson’s claims on Friday.
“Mr. Weinstein has nothing but the utmost respect for Peter Jackson. However, as Mr. Jackson will probably remember, because Disney would not finance the Lord of the Rings, Miramax lost the project and all casting was done by New Line,” a spokesperson on behalf of Weinstein said. “While Bob and Harvey Weinstein were executive producers of the film they had no input into the casting whatsoever.”
The statement continued: “Secondly, until Ashley Judd wrote a piece for Variety two years ago, no one at the Company knew that she had a complaint and she was cast in two other films by Mr. Weinstein [Frida and Crossing Over] and Mira Sorvino was always considered for other films as well. There was no indication that Mira Sorvino had any issues until Mr. Weinstein read about the complaints in the news. As recently as this year, Mira Sorvino called Mr. Weinstein and asked if her husband could be part of the SEAL television series [Six] he was producing and Mr. Weinstein cast him; when Christopher Backus received a better offer, Mr. Weinstein allowed him to amicably break his contact to peruse the opportunity.”
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