- Peter Jackson said he did not cast Ashley Judd and Mira Sorvino in “Lord of the Rings” on the advice of Harvey Weinstein.
- The director compared Weinstein and his brother, Bob, to “second-rate Mafia bullies.”
- Weinstein said he had nothing to do with the casting of “Lord of the Rings.”
- Sorvino said Weinstein “derailed my career.”
Peter Jackson did not cast Ashley Judd and Mira Sorvino in “Lord of the Rings” after a “smear” campaign by Harvey Weinstein.
Jackson said he considered the actresses, who have both accused movie mogul Weinstein of sexual misconduct, for roles in his JRR Tolkien mega-franchise, but passed them over on the advice of Miramax.
“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.
“At the time, we had no reason to question what these guys were telling us – but in hindsight, I realise 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.”
Jackson and wife Fran Walsh developed the films with Weinstein’s Miramax in the 1990s but production was eventually moved to New Line Cinema ahead of their launch in 2001.
Jackson described the Weinstein brothers as “second-rate Mafia bullies,” adding: “They weren’t the type of guys I wanted to work with – so I haven’t.”
In a statement sent to a number of publications, a spokesman for Weinstein denied that he and his brother had any sway over the casting of “Lord of the Rings.”
“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,” he said.
Jackson’s own comments to stuff.co.nz echoed this. “Although his name had to be on the ‘Lord of the Rings’ credits for contractual reasons, he was not involved in the movies we ended up making,” the director said.
Both Judd and Sorvino thanked Jackson for speaking out against Weinstein. The latter explained that she cried because she realised that the producer “derailed my career.”
Just seeing this after I awoke, I burst out crying. 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 https://t.co/ljK9NqICbm
— Mira Sorvino (@MiraSorvino) December 15, 2017
Peter & Fran had me in – showed me all the creative, the boards, costumes, everything. They asked which if the two roles I preferred, and then I abruptly never heard from hem again. I appreciate the truth coming out. Thank you, Peter. https://t.co/iXKuK6Xqtx
— ashley judd (@AshleyJudd) December 15, 2017