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Harvey Weinstein hits back at Peter Jackson - again

Harvey Weinstein has hit back at Sir Peter Jackson again, insisting the director is too "powerful" for anyone to influence his casting decisions.

FILE: Harvey Weinstein. Picture: AFP

LONDON - Harvey Weinstein has insisted Sir Peter Jackson was too "powerful" for him to have influenced Lord of the Rings casting.

The disgraced producer has again hit back at the 56-year-old director after he claimed he had been pressured by the movie mogul not to have cast Mira Sorvino or Ashley Judd - who are among dozens of actresses to have accused Weinstein of sexual misconduct - in the hit movie series because of their "difficult" behaviour.

While Weinstein had previously insisted, via a spokesperson, that he had nothing to do with the casting of the movie, as by the time actors were hired, Miramax had lost the project to New Line, Jackson then maintained it was because of the producer's comments he ultimately rejected them from the project.

And in response, a spokesperson for the producer 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...

"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."

And the representative explained how Weinstein had cast Ashley in 2002's Frida and 2009's Crossing Over, and wanted her to appear in Good Will Hunting.

At the time of the Lord of the Rings casting, Weinstein was working with Mira on Mimic and noted the 50-year-old actress was, at the time, dating Quentin Tarantino, "the foundation and backbone of Miramax, while her career was at an all-time high.

The spokesperson said in a statement: "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."

Jackson previously insisted he had been pressured not to cast the actresses because they were a "nightmare to work with".

He said: "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. 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."

Both Sorvino and Judd have thanked Jackson for speaking out to explain why they were snubbed.

Sorvino tweeted: "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."

And Judd wrote: "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 them again. I appreciate the truth coming out. Thank you, Peter."

Over 50 women have accused Weinstein of sexual assault.

He has denied all allegations of non-consensual sex.

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