Peter Jackson has revealed the extent of Harvey Weinstein's smear campaign against those women he is reported to have sexually harassed.
The Hobbit director said when he was pitching his idea for the Lord of the Rings trilogy with Weinstein's then-company Miramax, he was steered away from casting both Ashley Judd and Mira Sorvino.
"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 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," he said.
Jackson said Weinstein and his brother Bob were like "second-rate Mafia bullies".
He said Weinstein threatened to sack him if he didn't turn his planned two-part movie into a single feature.
Jackson took it to New Line studio, which suggested actually making the Tolkien adaptation three parts to match the books.
"The (Weinsteins) 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."
A statement released by Weinstein's spokesperson hit back at Jackson, saying: "While Bob and Harvey Weinstein were executive producers of the film, they had no input into the casting whatsover".
The release from the spokesperson aded that Weinstein had "the utmost respect" for the Kiwi movie mogul.
Sorvino said she started to cry when she read the story and discovered that her hunch Weinstein was derailing her career was well-founded.
"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," she said. "Thank you Peter Jackson for being honest. I'm just heartsick."
Judd responded on Twitter, knowledging the black-listing and saying "I remember this well".
"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," Judd tweeted.
Jackson didn't comment on which roles he was considering for Judd and Sorvino but given there are only a few female characters in the films it could be guessed that he had Judd in mind for Liv Tyler's part of Arwen and Sorvino perhaps for Cate Blanchett's role of Galadriel.
Sorvino and Weinstein are yet to comment on the story.