Peter Jackson Says Harvey Weinstein Blacklisted Ashley Judd and Mira Sorvino: He Was ''Like a Second-Rate Mafia Bully''

New Zealand Film director breaks his silence on the controversial producer

By Kendall Fisher Dec 15, 2017 6:15 PMTags
Harvey Weinstein, Peter JacksonJon Furniss/WireImage

UPDATE: A spokesperson for Harvey Weinstein has responded to Sir Peter Jackson's claims that the movie mogul and his brother Bob Weinstein had blacklisted both Ashley Judd and Mira Sorvino.

In regards to claims that he blacklisted Judd, the spokesperson said, "As Peter Jackson explained in his own statement, Bob and Harvey Weinstein had nothing to do with Lord of the Rings. If Ashley Judd said she was in conversations with Mr. Jackson and reviewed sketches, it was under New Line, which had casting authority, not Miramax. Miramax never provided sketches to anyone. Around the time of Rings, Mr. Weinstein cast Ms. Judd in Frida and years later, in Crossing Over. Miramax had flown Ashley to New York for casting discussions and to meet the production team for Good Will Hunting. While Ashley was the top choice for Miramax and Mr. Weinstein, the role went to Minnie Driver, who was the star and director’s preference. Minnie did a brilliant job and he believes Ashley would have as well."

As a response to claims that Weinstein had blacklisted Sorvino, the spokesperson said, "Mr. Weinstein did not blacklist Mira Sorvino, and was in fact working with her during the time frame in question on Mimic, the Guillermo Del Toro film. Also during that time, she was dating Quentin Tarantino, who was the foundation and backbone of Miramax. At the time in question, no one could have blacklisted or derailed the career of Ms. Sorvino, who had recently won both an Academy and a Golden Globe award and was being courted for leading roles by all seven studios and every major broadcast network.

The statement continued, "After the success of Lord of the Rings, Peter Jackson was so powerful he could have cast anyone he wanted in the Hobbit. Neither Ms. Judd nor Ms. Sorvino had roles in the film. Mr. Weinstein continues to admire Mr. Jackson for his creative genius, but he firmly denies these accusations."


Sir Peter Jackson has broken his silence on Harvey Weinstein.

The film director spoke to the New Zealand publication Stuff about his working relationship with Harvey, who he met in the '90s when Jackson was pitching his plans for The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings.

In the article, Jackson claimed that Harvey and his brother Bob Weinstein had blacklisted both Ashley Judd and Mira Sorvino—two of the women who came forward with sexual assault allegations against Harvey.

"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."

He continued, "At the time, we had no reason to question what these guys were telling us—but in hindsight, I realize that this was very likely the Miramax smear campaign in full swing."

Hollywood's Many Men Accused of Sexual Misconduct

Jackson admitted, "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."

Interestingly enough, Jackson said it was the Weinstein brothers that were most difficult to work with.

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"My experience, when Miramax controlled the Lord of the Rings [before New Line took over production of the film], was of Weinstein and his brother behaving like second-rate Mafia bullies," Jackson revealed. "They weren't the type of guys I wanted to work with - so I haven't. Although his name had to be on the Lord of the Rings credits for contractual reasons, he was not involved in the movies we ended up making." 

Jackson claimed Weinstein threatened to remove him as director of Lord of the Rings if he didn't turn the proposed two-part film into one, forcing Jackson to search elsewhere.

When New Line took on the project, they were the ones to suggest three films to match the books.

"Movie making is much more fun when you work with nice people," Jackson said.

Both Sorvino and Judd have responded to Jackson's article.

"I remember this well," Judd tweeted.

Sorvino also spoke out, thanking Jackson.  "Just seeing this after I awoke, I burst out crying," she wrote. "There it is, confirmation that Harvey Weinstein derailed my career, something I suspected but was unsure. Thank you Peter Jackson for being honest. I'm just heartsick."


A spokesperson for Weinstein also released a statement following Jackson's claims. 

"Mr. Weinstein has nothing but the utmost respect for Peter Jackson," the statement began. "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. While Bob and Harvey Weinstein were executive producers of the film they had no input into the casting whatsoever."

It continued, "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. There was no indication that Mira Sorvino had any issues until Mr. Weinstein read about the complaints in the news."

The statement concluded, "As recently as this year, Mira Sorvino called Mr. Weinstein and asked if her husband could be part of the SEAL television series [Six] he was producing, and Mr. Weinstein cast him; when Christopher Backus received a better offer, Mr. Weinstein allowed him to amicably break his contact to peruse the opportunity."