Peter Jackson’s claims that Harvey Weinstein fueled a “smear campaign” against actresses Ashley Judd and Mira Sorvino made headlines on Friday. The Lord Of The Rings director claims both were “blacklisted” due to information shared by Miramax during the early production of the epic film series.
Weinstein soon released a denial of Jackson’s take on the situation, saying that Miramax lost Lord Of The Rings and “all casting was done by New Line” with no decisions from either Weinstein or his brother, Bob Weinstein. This clearly did not sit well with Jackson and he released a rebuttal to the Weinstein denial to Deadline:
Aspects of Harvey’s denial are insincere. He is basically saying that “this blacklisting couldn’t be true because New Line cast the movie”. That’s a deflection from the truth.
In the 18 months we developed the Lord of the Rings at Miramax, we had many casting conversations with Harvey Weinstein, Bob Weinstein and their executives.
During this period, no offers were made to actors because that occurs after a film is greenlit, and Miramax never greenlit these films…
Amongst the many names raised, Fran and I expressed our enthusiasm for Ashley Judd and Mira Sorvino. In fact we met with Ashley and discussed two possible roles with her. After this meeting we were told by Miramax to steer clear of both Ashley and Mira, because they claimed to have had “bad experiences” with these particular actresses in the past.
Fran Walsh was in the same meeting, and remembers these negative comments about Ashley and Mira as clearly as I do. We have no reason to make it up.
The full rebuttal is over at Deadline and also gives more clarity to the process behind casting for the film and why Jackson now feels he might have been led astray by Miramax:
The movies changed hands from Miramax to New Line before casting actually got underway – but because we had been warned off Ashley and Mira by Miramax, and we were naive enough to assume we’d been told the truth, Fran and I did not raise their names in New Line casting conversations.
Nearly 20 years later, we read about the sexual misconduct allegations being made against Harvey Weinstein and we saw comments by both Mira and Ashley, who felt they had been blacklisted by Miramax after rejecting Harvey’s sexual advances.
Fran and I immediately remembered Miramax’s negative reaction when we put their names forward, and we wondered if we had unwittingly been part of the alleged damage to their careers, at the hands of Miramax.
Jackson adds that he has no evidence linking the allegations made by Sorvino and Judd to the casting decisions made in the late ’90s, but stands by the claims he initially made about Miramax and the potential of casting both actresses. He also adds an apology to both at the end saying, “If we were unwitting accomplices in harming their careers, Fran and I unreservedly apologise to both Ashley and Mira.”