Lord Of The Rings and The Hobbit director Peter Jackson has admitted that he avoided casting certain actresses in his movies on the basis of advice from Harvey Weinstein and his brother Bob, describing the once-powerful producers as “second-rate mafia bullies.”
Back in the 1990s, the New Zealand director was pitching ideas for his epic series of fantasy films, and considering actresses including Ashley Judd and Mira Sorvino – both of whom have since come forward with allegations of sexual abuse against Harvey Weinstein.
Speaking to Stuff, he said that when the names came up, he was strongly advised against casting either star, saying:
“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 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.”
Jackson went on to say that he had an extremely difficult time working with the Weinstein brothers, who were keen on him turning his proposed two-part Lord Of The Rings film into one single feature. He went on to say:
“My experience, when Miramax controlled the Lord of the Rings, 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. 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.”
Rings eventually ended up at New Line, where it was suggested that the films be turned into a trilogy instead – probably a good call, all things considered. “Movie making is much more fun when you work with nice people,” Jackson went on to explain.
Both Mira Sorvino and Ashley Judd have responded to Peter Jackson’s comments, with Sorvino thanking the director for confirming the story, but adding that she “burst out crying” when she received confirmation that Weinstein purposely derailed her career, as she suspected.
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
Judd merely said “I remember this well” in response to the story.
I remember this well. https://t.co/wctEhESAS9
— ashley judd (@AshleyJudd) December 15, 2017
Harvey Weinstein has released an official statement saying that he and his brother Bob had “no input into the casting” of the Lord Of The Rings films.