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Peter Jackson kept actresses who refused Weinstein out of “Lord of the Rings”

When Mira Sorvino told the New Yorker that she believed her refusal to have a physical relationship with Harvey Weinstein hurt her career, she also confessed she didn’t know for sure.

by Carter Sherman
Dec 15 2017, 8:45pm

FILE- In this Feb. 22, 2015 file photo, Harvey Weinstein arrives at the Oscars at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles.  On Saturday, Oct. 14, 2016, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences revoked Weinstein's membership. The decision, reached Saturday in an emergency session, comes in the wake of recent reports by The New York Times and The New Yorker magazine that revealed sexual harassment and rape allegations against him going back decades. (Photo by Vince Bucci/Invision/AP, File)

When Mira Sorvino told the New Yorker that she believed her refusal to have a physical relationship with Harvey Weinstein hurt her career, she also confessed she didn’t know for sure.

But on Friday, director Peter Jackson confirmed her worst fears, telling a New Zealand media outlet that Weinstein had pressured him to blacklist Sorvino and Ashley Judd, another of Weinstein’s accusers, from obtaining roles in Jackson’s “Lord of the Rings” film trilogy.

“I recall Miramax telling us they were a nightmare to work with and we should avoid them at all costs,” Jackson said. “This was probably in 1998.”

Jackson went on, “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."

Sorvino confessed on Twitter that Jackson’s revelation made her “burst out crying,” and Judd confirmed that she remembered the moment she was “abruptly” cast out of the running for a part she thought she had landed.

In a statement to Entertainment Weekly, Weinstein’s representatives denied that Weinstein had any impact on the casting. Weinstein and his brother Bob were both slated to produce the Lord of the Ring series, but Jackson ultimately ended up taking the movies to New Line Cinemas. Weinstein’s representatives allege that studio handled all the casting. “Secondly, 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,” Weinstein’s reps said. “There was no indication that Mira Sorvino had any issues until Mr. Weinstein read about the complaints in the news.”

Jackson said he never again worked with the Weinstein brothers, who he describes as “second-rate Mafia bullies.”

“It's been 20 years since my last interaction of any substance with Harvey Weinstein,” Jackson wrote.