Published: Sun, December 17, 2017
Entertaiment | By Lawrence Myers

Mira Sorvino, Ashley Judd on Weinstein 'Smear Campaign': 'I Remember This Well'

Mira Sorvino, Ashley Judd on Weinstein 'Smear Campaign': 'I Remember This Well'

Accused sexual predator Harvey Weinstein is insisting again that he "had nothing to do" with casting Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings films, and that he did not blacklist Ashley Judd or Mira Sorvino.

"We were immediately told by Miramax to steer clear of them, because they claimed to have had "bad experiences" with these particular actresses in the past", Jackson wrote.

The Lord of the Rings trilogy was initially in development with Weinstein's Miramax company, before being passed to New Line Cinema. Jackson told New Zealand entertainment website Stuff that he had considered casting Sorvino and Judd in the Lord of the Rings movies.

Three-time Oscar victor Jackson, who described Weinstein and his brother, Bob Weinstein, as "behaving like second-rate Mafia bullies", also said he feuded with the studio about the number of films in the franchise and has chosen not to work with the brothers since.

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"We have no direct evidence linking Ashley and Mira's allegations to our Lord of the Rings casting conversations of 20 years ago - but we stand by what we were told by Miramax when we raised both of their names, and we are recounting it accurately".

"In hindsight, I realise that this was very likely the Miramax smear campaign in full swing", Jackson said.

Sorvino also retweeted it, adding: "Just seeing this after I awoke, I burst out crying".

"Thank you Peter Jackson for being honest".

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Judd, meanwhile, recalled how her involvement progressed far enough to be invited by Jackson to see preparation work for the blockbuster trilogy. I was leaving when he grabbed me by the arm and said "what are you doing?"

In a new statement released by a spokesperson on Weinstein's behalf, the former Miramax honcho says he not only didn't blacklist Sorvino but "was in fact working with her during the timeframe in question on Mimic, the Guillermo Del Toro film". Peter's statement goes on to state that after the actresses came forward to allege that Weinstein "blacklisted" them after they rejected his "sexual advances", he felt the need to speak out about his own experience when trying to hire the two stars.

The filmmaker said that Weinstein's credit on the movies is there because it had to be, not because he was involved with the movies he made, and once New Line took over, Miramax's only involvement was distribution.

Judd was among the first women to publicly accuse Weinstein of harassment this year, detailing encounters with the mogul and rebuffing his alleged advances in the New York Times story that broke the scandal wide open in October.

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Mr. Weinstein continues to admire Mr. Jackson for his creative genius, but he firmly denies these accusations. Weinstein said he cast him but allowed Backus "to amicably break his contact" to pursue a different opportunity.

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