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Harvey Weinstein ‘smear campaign’ held Ashley Judd, Mira Sorvino of ‘Lord of the Rings,’ the director claims

Peter Jackson, seen here in 2014, claims that he was discouraged by Miramax from the casting of Ashley Judd and Mira Sorvino in the “Lord of the Rings’

(Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)

The Oscar-winning director Peter Jackson claimed Friday that the disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein told him to avoid working with actress Ashley Judd and Mira Sorvino as part of a “smear campaign” against them.

In an interview with the New Zealand website Stuff, Jackson said that he was pitching his “Lord of the Rings” films to Miramax in the late 1990s, and interest in casting Judd and Sorvino.

“I remember Miramax to tell us that they were a nightmare to work with, and we should avoid them at all costs,” Jackson said. “At the time, we had no reason to question what these guys were telling us – but in retrospect, I realize that this was probably the Miramax smear campaign in full swing.”

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Jackson had harsh words for He and his brother Bob, describing them as ‘ second-rate Mafia bullies.”

“They were not the type of guys that I wanted to work,” Jackson added, “so I have not.”

Only seeing this after I woke up, I burst into tears. There is a confirmation that Harvey Weinstein derailed my career, something I suspected but was not sure. Thank you Peter Jackson for the fair. I’m just a heartache https://t.co/ljK9NqICbm

— Mira Sorvino (@MiraSorvino) December 15, 2017

Since October, Harvey Weinstein has been accused of sexual misconduct by more than 60 women — including actresses Judd, Sorvino, Angelina Jolie and a Gwenyth Paltrow.

Sorvino wrote on Twitter that Jackson’s story was “a confirmation that Harvey Weinstein derailed my career, something I suspected but wasn’t sure.”

Peter & Frank had me in showed me all the creative, the shelves, costumes, everything. She asked what if the two roles I prefer, and then I suddenly never heard from him again. I appreciate the truth comes out. Thank you, Peter. https://t.co/iXKuK6Xqtx

ashley judd (@AshleyJudd) December 15, 2017

Judd tweeted that Jackson and producer Fran Walsh (who is also married to the director) “showed me all the creative, the shelves, costumes, everything. She asked what if the two roles I prefer, and then I suddenly never heard from him [sic].”

A spokesman for Weinstein disputes the account, saying that his company Miramax was not involved in the casting, which was handled by New Line Cinema.

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The spokesperson added that, “While Bob and Harvey Weinstein were executive producers of the film that they had no input in the casting.”

Jackson said late Friday that “aspects of Harvey’s refusal to be insincere.”

In a statement on behalf of itself and Walsh, he says that they both expressed enthusiasm for Judd and Sorvino.

Judd, left, and Sorvino are among the more than 60 women who accused Harvey Weinstein of sexual misconduct.

(Reuters)

“We were immediately told by Miramax to steer clear of them, because they claimed to have had ‘bad experiences’ with this name actresses in the past,” Jackson wrote. “We have no direct evidence that Ashley and Mira, the allegations of the Lord of the Rings casting calls of 20 years ago, but we stand with what we were told by Miramax when we raised both of their names, and we tell it accurately. If we are ignorant accomplices in their career to harm, Fran and I wholeheartedly apologise to both Ashley and Mira.”

“The Lord of The Rings” trilogy won a total of 17 Academy Awards, with the latest episode, “the Return of the King,” winning a record-tying 11 Oscars.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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