Responding on Twitter to revelations made by director Peter Jackson that Harvey Weinstein and Miramax allegedly called actress Mira Sorvino and Ashley Judd “a nightmare” and prevented their casting in Lord of the Rings, another filmmaker says he experienced the same thing when trying to make his movie.
Bad Santa director Terry Zwigoff says Weinstein and his brother Bob would hang up the phone whenever he mentioned the Oscar-winning actress for his 2003 film.
“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,” Zwigoff wrote. “What type of person just hangs up on you like that?! I guess we all know what type of person now.”
He ended the tweet with an apology to the actress, simply saying,”I’m really sorry Mira.”
“Mr. Weinstein denies speaking with Terry regarding casting. That was a Dimension film (Bob Weinstein) and Harvey had nothing to do with it,” Harvey Weinstein’s lawyer said in a statement to EW.
Zwigoff’s comments come after an interview published Friday by New Zealand publication Stuff, where Jackson categorized the comments by Harvey and Bob Wesinstein’s Miramax in the ’90s about the actresses as a “smear campaign.”
“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,” Jackson said. “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. 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.”
In a statement provided to EW about Jackson’s claim, representatives for Harvey Weinstein said, in part, “Mr. Weinstein has nothing but the utmost respect for Peter Jackson. 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.”
Jackson and wife and producing partner Fran Walsh later refuted Weinstein’s statement.
“Aspects of Harvey’s denial are insincere. He is basically saying that ‘this blacklisting couldn’t be true because New Line cast the movie’. That’s a deflection from the truth,” they said in a statement obtained by EW, later adding, “We have no direct evidence linking Ashley and Mira’s allegations to our Lord of the Rings casting conversations of 20 years ago – but we stand by what we were told by Miramax when we raised both of their names, and we are recounting it accurately.”
Weinstein, via his attorney, is “standing firm that this is untrue” in a statement to EW and says he “flew Judd to NYC around that time for casting in Good Will Hunting and pushed for her to get a leading role in it,” while also maintaining that Sorvino was “working on Mimic at this same time which is a Miramax film.”
In October, Judd went public with claims that Harvey Weinstein sexually harassed her in the ’90s, when, she alleges, he invited her to his hotel room and greeted her in a bathrobe, asking for a massage and to take a shower with him. “I said no, a lot of ways, a lot of times, and he always came back at me with some new ask,” Judd said to The New York Times. “It was all this bargaining, this coercive bargaining.” Sorvino, meanwhile, told The New Yorker‘s Ronan Farrow that Harvey Weinstein behaved inappropriately with her around the same time. “He started massaging my shoulders, which made me very uncomfortable, and then tried to get more physical, sort of chasing me around,” Sorvino claimed of an incident in a Toronto hotel room around the release of Mighty Aphrodite in 1995.
Weinstein has denied all allegations of non-consensual sex — as well as claims that he retaliated against women who rebuffed him. “Any allegations of non-consensual sex are unequivocally denied by Mr. Weinstein,” his representatives said in a statement released in October. “Mr. Weinstein has further confirmed that there were never any acts of retaliation against any women for refusing his advances. Mr. Weinstein obviously can’t speak to anonymous allegations, but with respect to any women who have made allegations on the record, Mr. Weinstein believes that all of these relationships were consensual. Mr. Weinstein has begun counseling, has listened to the community and is pursuing a better path. Mr. Weinstein is hoping that, if he makes enough progress, he will be given a second chance.”
—With additional reporting by David Canfield