The Lord of the Rings cast might have included Ashley Judd or Mira Sorvino had it not been for the intervention of Harvey Weinstein. Director Peter Jackson revealed Weinstein's behind the scenes machinations in a recent interview.
Speaking with Stuff, Jackson said that while he had "no direct experience or knowledge of the sexual allegations" against Harvey Weinstein, he was once told to avoid working with Judd and Sorvino by Weinstein's studio, Miramax, who were in control of The Lord of the Rings at the time. "I recall Miramax telling us [the actors] were a nightmare to work with and we should avoid them at all costs," Jackson recounted. "This was probably in 1998."
"At the time, we had no reason to question what these guys were telling us," Jackson continued. "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."
Judd and Sorvino have both come forward in recent months alleging that Weinstein sexually harassed them and hindered their careers for rejecting his advances. Both actors responded to Jackson's statements in Twitter posts. "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," Sorvino wrote. "I remember this well," wrote Judd.
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
Jackson also elaborated on how dealing with Miramax during the early stages of The Lord of the Rings led to his decision not to work with the Weinstein brothers again. "My experience, when Miramax controlled The Lord of the Rings (before New Line took over production of the film), was of Weinstein and his brother behaving like second-rate Mafia bullies," Jackson detailed. "They weren't the type of guys I wanted to work with - so I haven't."
Jackson explained that Weinstein's name appears in The Lord of the Rings credits due to a contractual obligation, but that he was not involved in the actual making of the films.
"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," Jackson said. "Movie making is much more fun when you work with nice people."