Melbourne: Director Peter Jackson has claimed Harvey Weinstein designed a “smear campaign” against Ashley Judd and Mira Sorvino, that discouraged him to offer roles to the two actors who were one of the first women to openly accuse the disgraced media mogul of sexual harassment.
The 56-year-old filmmaker said he was unaware of the allegations against Weinstein while working him on projects including “The Hobbit” and “LOTR” trilogy, but was wary of collaborating again.
“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 (Judd and Sorvino) – and as a direct result their names were removed from our casting list,” Jackson told New Zealand’s Stuff in an interview.
The filmmaker described Weinstein and his brother, Bob’s behaviour likening to that of “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,” he added.
Judd and Sorvino had earlier claimed they had lost out on films due to Weinstein.
The actors took to Twitter to thank Jackson for speaking up.
Judd said, “Peter and 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.”
While Sorvino wrote, “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.