Jackson admits he blacklisted Judd, Sorvino

Sir Peter Jackson, director of the Lord of the Rings series, has admitted that the Weinstein brothers orchestrated a smear campaign that led to him blacklist actresses Ashley Judd and Mira Sorvino.

Judd and Sorvino have both publicly claimed that Hollywood director Harvey Weinstein sexual harassed them, and they both missed out on roles in Lord of the Rings films because of what the brothers had said about them.

After remaining silent for weeks, Jackson admitted to Stuff.co.nz that their story was true.

He said the blacklist was a result of the actions of accused sexual predator Weinstein and his brother and business partner Bob, who he described as "second-rate Mafia bullies".

Jackson said he had "no direct experience or knowledge of the sexual allegations" against the Hollywood powerbroker, but he had made a conscious decision to never work with him again.

Weinstein and Jackson crossed paths in the late 1990s when Jackson was pitching his early plans for The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings films to the Weinstein-led studio Miramax.

Judd was picked to star in the film along with Sorvino.

"I recall Miramax telling us [Judd and Sorvino] were a nightmare to work with and we should avoid them at all costs. This was probably in 1998," Jackson said.

"At the time, we had no reason to question what these guys were telling us - but in hindsight, I realise 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 said the Weinstein brothers were both particularly difficult to work with.

"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. They weren't the type of guys I wanted to work with - so I haven't," he said.

"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."


Judd responded on Twitter to Jackson's comments about the blacklist, saying: "I remember this well".

Sorvino said Jackson's comments made her burst into tears as she had long suspected that Weinstein had derailed her career.

Jackson said Weinstein threatened to sack him from the Lord of the Rings adaptation if he didn't follow Weinstein's demands to make the proposed two-part film into one.

He gave Jackson and his wife Fran Walsh four weeks to find a new studio that would take on the two-part movie.

Finally, New Line took them on and suggested they make the two films into three to match the books.

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

"I vaguely remember bumping into him (Weinstein) at some award show or premiere at the time of their release, but it's been 20 years since my last interaction of any substance with Harvey Weinstein."

While Heavenly Creatures was a Miramax release, Jackson said the company's only involvement was its distribution.


This story Jackson admits he blacklisted Judd, Sorvino first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.