Peter Jackson revealed in a recent interview that he was strongly urged, likely under false pretenses, to avoid casting Ashley Judd and Mira Sorvino in his Lord of the Rings franchise by Harvey Weinstein and his brother, Bob, back in the late 1990s.
"I recall Miramax telling us they were a nightmare to work with and we should avoid them at all costs. This was probably 1998," he told New Zealand publication Stuff, recounting how the Weinstein brothers had warned him against hiring the actresses, who have both spoken out against Harvey in recent months with allegations of sexual misconduct.
"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," he said, calling the producer brothers "second-rate Mafia bullies."
"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 continued.
Both Judd and Sorvino have publicly accused Weinstein of sexually harassing them; both also rejected the mega producer's advances, and based on Jackson's recent revelations, suffered the professional consequences.
"Just seeing this after I awoke, I burst out crying," Sorvino tweeted Friday after reading the piece. "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 also offered up her own response to the allegation, tweeting "I remember this well" along with a link to the article.
In the interview published Thursday, Jackson also recounted how he had a bad experience working with the Weinstein brothers – and so opted never to do so again after New Line took over production of the Lord of the Rings films.
"They weren't the type of guys I wanted to work with – so I haven't," he said. "Although his name had to be on the Lord of the Ring credits for contractual reasons, he was not involved in the movies we ended up making. … I vaguely remember bumping into him [Weinstein] at some award show or premiere at the time of their release, but it's been 20 years since my last interaction of any substance with Harvey Weinstein."
In a statement, a rep for Weinstein said, “while Bob and Harvey Weinstein were executive producers of the film [Lord of the Rings] they had no input into the casting whatsoever …. 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."