Filmmakers Peter Jackson and Terry Zwigoff have both made claims that Harvey and Bob Weinstein made an effort in the late 1990s to blacklist actresses Ashley Judd and Mira Sorvino, two actresses among the first to publicly come forward with allegations of sexual harassment against Harvey Weinstein back in October.
In an interview with Stuff, Jackson discussed working on the Miramax-produced “The Hobbit” and “The Lord of the Rings” films with both Weinsteins and revealed both were under consideration but they advised against it:
“I recall Miramax telling us they were a nightmare to work with and we should avoid them at all costs. This was probably in 1998. In hindsight, I realize that this was very likely the Miramax smear campaign in full swing. 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.”
Jackson says he had ‘no direct experience or knowledge of the sexual allegations’ against Weinstein, but he had decided earlier to never collaborate with him again saying both of the brothers were: “behaving like second-rate mafia bullies. They weren’t the type of guys I wanted to work with – so I haven’t.” Ultimately the franchise was moved to New Line before it began production and though the Weinsteins have name credit on the film, it was contractual only.
Sorvino has responded to the claims yesterday saying:
“Just seeing this after I awoke, I burst out crying. 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.”
Judd responded with:
“Peter & Fran had me in – showed me all the creative, the boards, costumes, everything. They asked which if the two roles I preferred, and then I abruptly never heard from hem again. I appreciate the truth coming out. Thank you, Peter.”
Harvey Weinstein denied the allegation through a spokesperson saying: “While Bob and Harvey Weinstein were executive producers of the film, they had no input into the casting whatsoever.” Additionally, “Bad Santa” filmmaker Zwigoff took to Twitter late Friday and spoke about his experience:
“I was interested in casting Mira Sorvino in BAD SANTA, but every time I mentioned her over the phone to the Weinsteins, I’d hear a CLICK. What type of person just hangs up on you like that?! I guess we all know what type of person now. I’m really sorry Mira.”
Meanwhile actor Jason Priestly has revealed on Twitter (via People) that he had an interaction in 1995 with Weinstein, although with his he apparently punched the mogul in the face:
“1995 Golden Globes… at the Miramax Party… Harvey told me I had to leave… I was leaving when he grabbed me by the arm and said ‘what are you doing?’ I said: ‘You told me leave, I’m leaving’. ‘I didn’t say you had to leave’ he replied. ‘You just told me to leave… right over there’ I tell him once again. Getting heated now. He then grabs me tighter and says ‘why don’t we go outside and talk about this’. That was all I needed to hear, ‘I’m not going anywhere with you’ I said as I pushed him back and punched him with a right hand to his face. Suddenly, there were security guards pulling us apart and I was escorted out of the party.”
Harvey Weinstein has not been charged with a crime, although several police investigations against him are ongoing.