Weinstein vs Jackson: producer denies blacklisting actresses


Peter Jackson has admitted that he blacklisted actors Ashley Judd and Mira Sorvino after they fell victim to an alleged "smear campaign" created by Harvey Weinstein.

Jackson had been in early negotiations with Weinstein's company, Miramax, to produce the Lord of the Rings films when Weinstein told him to steer clear of both actresses. Jackson doubled down on his initial statement following Weinstein's denial - which Jackson said is " a deflection from the truth".

"I recall Miramax telling us [Judd and Sorvino] were a nightmare to work with and we should avoid them at all costs".

"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", declared Jackson.

"At the time, we had no reason to question what these guys were telling us", Jackson said of the negative comments about actresses like Judd and Sorvino.

Both Judd and Sorvino are speaking out about Jackson's claims, with Sorvino issuing a tweet admitting that she "burst out crying" to see Jackson confirming her longtime suspicions "that Harvey Weinstein derailed my career".

Also on Thursday, the NY police department announced it was opening an investigation into Russell Simmons, the rap mogul and founder of Def Jam Recordings, after multiple women accused the powerful music producer of rape and sexual assault.

Judd and Sorvino could not be immediately reached for further comment.

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Judd was among the first women to speak out against Weinstein and against the pattern of sexual misconduct in Hollywood. "However, as Mr Jackson will probably remember, because Disney would not finance the Lord of the Rings, Miramax lost the project and all casting was done by New Line", the spokesperson said in an email. Sorvino, the representatives said, had been considered for other films as well.

Sorvino said she was "heartsick" after seeing the claims. When she found herself in a hotel room with him at the Toronto International Film Festival in September 1995, he began massaging her shoulders - making her uncomfortable - and then tried to get more physical with her. "My journey now will be to learn about myself and conquer my demons".

Jackson denied knowing about sexual assault allegations against Harvey Weinstein and said he has long since ceased to work with the Weinstein brothers because they acted like "second-rate mafia bullies".

However, if these women had known the large scope of which Weinstein was committing these sickening acts they likely would have banded together to expose him years ago.

Jackson added that Weinstein and his brother Bob "behaved like second-rate Mafia bosses" and treated everyone on set shamefully. To not continue and star in their movies much past that doesn't make sense.

In these film maker/studio relationships, there has to be consensus in casting choices - either side can generally veto suggested names for various reasons, and in pre-Lord of the Rings days, we didn't have the power to override the studio on casting choices.

"The Lord of the Rings" trilogy won a total of 17 Academy Awards, with the final installment, "Return of the King", winning a record-tying 11 Oscars.