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Dec 15 2017

Ashley Judd might have been Arwen...or Galadriel

by Nathaniel R

Ashley Judd in her blockbuster breakout "Double Jeopardy"in 1999I keep getting into trouble when I tweet out semantic arguments on the internet as if I'm missing the point of very serious topics.So let me assure you that I'm not missing the point.I am filled with rage when I read these stories about the toxic treatment of actresses in Hollywood but the only way I can cope (I live for actresses,duh) is to nerd out and take deep dives into thinking about their filmographies,or looking at Oscar stats,or other less fraught things to rage less.Lashing out in all directions with rage or feeding my rage by continually sharing it is just not my way and has never helped me cope with pain.So,in other words,I'll save my little semantics quibble until the end of the post.

Anyway the reveals of what Harvey Weinstein was up to in his most powerful days keep getting worse.To stay within the confines of Weinsten adjacent imagery,let's just say it makes me want to watch anInglorious Basterdsahistorical style rewrite in which some Ashley Judd gets the Brad Pitt role and her team of merciless female soldiers gives Weinstein what he deserved back then...

To make a very long story short,what we've recently learned is that Jackon wanted Ashley Judd forThe Lord of The Ringsand he implied she could have her pick of either part.It's easy to deduce we're talking about Galadriel or Arwen here since they are the only three female characters (and it probably wouldn't have been Eowyn with Judd a newly minted star at the time!).Judd never heard from him again.Jackson,now,is letting the world know that Weinstein is lying about his denials of Judd's claims.Jackson says that Weinstein personally warned him off of casting Judd or Sorvino in this epic because they were impossible to work with.

It's all so horribly sad.If you think back to Ashley Judd in 1999,hot off her surprise sleeper hitDouble Jeopardywhich theoretically should have made her a hot commodity (and did briefly if not to the extent it would have if Harvey hadn't been trying to sabotage her) it's actually easy to picture her acing either of those now iconic roles,though Liv Tyler and Cate Blanchett were both wonderful.

The semantics part.
I've always believed that words matter so I can't help but be frustrated with the round of headlines with this particular story.There are,as I type, dozens of them blaring things like "Peter Jackson blacklisted"or was "forced into blacklisting"Ashley Judd or Mira Sorvino in the late 90s.Sometimesit's presented  to look like a quote or obeying an orderbut then the actual quotes say something different.They still paint a very damaging account of Weinstein's smearing but in no way suggest that Jackson was "forced"into anything or that he prevented the actresses from getting further work outside of his movie which is what blacklisting implies.Rewording it this way makes Peter Jackson sound like an awful person and that he himself was the one derailng their careers!Or that he was Weinstein's lackey (he was not and,in fact,never made a movie with him afterHeavenly Creatureswhich was a buy-and-release situation rather than an actual collaboration).Weinstein's name is only onthe Lord of the Ringsmovies due to contractual reasons since Jackson was able to take the project away from Miramax and over to New Line.

Peter Jackson had no power to make Judd unemployable,he merely believed Weinstein and didn't hire her for his fantasy trilogy.Whyhe believed him is a more troubling question that none of the articles address.He apparently didn't like him much already at that point in time,so why take his word so readily on an actress?). But let's not be ungenerous to Jackson.The blame is Weinstein's who was,after all,orchestrating a smear campaign to try and virtually blacklist actresses like Sorvino and Judd.I say virtually because he had no control over what happened at other studios,just his own "mini-major".A smear campaign was the pettiest and sadly most effective way to do damage.

Ashley Judd and Mira Sorvino in their "Norma Jean and Marilyn"collaboration on TV in 1996

Nevertheless Judd's initial claims are now vindicated from a highly respected industry veteran.Weinstein was,in fact,wreaking havoc on her career and now Judd has Jackson as a witness.Good on Jackson for speaking out and all power to Judd for being such a smart tough women all these years and not taking this toxic shit.And for her political moxie.If you didn't grow up watching her,please seek outSmoke(1995) in which she has one of those once-every-few-years "WHO IS THIS?"camera seizing arrival,andBug(2006) in which she proves that she can throw down with the best of the brave 'I'll ace any tricky material' actresses.Afterwards you'll totally want to see some savvy writer/director hand her a plum part immediately and cause a Judd-assaince.Same goes for Mira Sorvino of coursewho we were just recently praising.

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Reader Comments (28)

I've ALWAYS wondered why these two (and Rose McGowan for that matter) never had bigger film careers.As an actress-sexual,I take deep offense.And bless Peter Jackson for coming forward to defend these women.

December 15,2017 | Unregistered CommenterBushwick

It bears mentioning that both Judd and Sorvino,whatever you make of their film careers,both became impassioned campaigners for women's rights around the world.Real advocates,not just mouthpieces or event-goers the way so many celebs are quote-unquote activists.And did so long before this current cultural moment began.

It's worth pausing to lament what became of their Hollywood potential.But the other pernicious subtext is that they are failed movie stars whose careers are defined by being kept off the A-list.Like Hayek and others,their lives and careers contain multitudes beyond the one-track Best Actress Oscar path by which we often judge "success"or "failure"among actresses.

It's awesome that Hayek produced Ugly Betty and won a Daytime Emmy for directing a children's special.What we're led to assume were "backup plans"in the face of sexism and blacklisting are more inspiring to me than,say,appearing in Oscar bait every year for a decade.Hell,it even makes GOOP feel sort of transcendent.

December 16,2017 | Unregistered CommenterHayden

I feel badly for Judd,particularly if she lost out the role Liv Tyler played.Judd is a much stronger actress than Tyler,and really could have capitalised on the exposure of the role and popularity of the franchise in a way Tyler realistically couldn't (because the chops weren't really there,though she made a fine Arwen)

Judd"s talent and looks were about on par with Charlize Theron.She really should have a Theron level career,with Best Actress Oscar win at some point.All derailed because Weinstein was a vindictive tool.

December 16,2017 | Unregistered CommenterSal

The fact that both Ashley Judd and Mira Sorvino had the chance to be bigger stars and instead haven't done a lot of work over the years because of that asshole is disgusting.I hope there's a day where he is surrounded by all of those women and filmmakers he's fucked over and give him the beating of a lifetime.

December 16,2017 | Unregistered Commenterthevoid99

The Old Hollywood Tycoons Harry Cohn(Columbia),Louis B.Mayer(MGM),Darryl F.Zanuck(20th Century Fox),Jack Warner(WB) and others look like angels next to Harvey Weinstein and others from the modern and post-feminist Hollywood.We know that harassment always happened everywhere,but It sounds like if they were more professional back then.Fortunately powerful pedophiles of showbiz soon will be unmasked.Hollywood sudenly became a place where they love to dictate moral rules of behaviour and show the other places crimes,like that old nosy neighbour who doesn't see the bad things happening inside the house and when finds out just doesn't know what to do with it.

December 16,2017 | Unregistered CommenterGwen

It always felt so strange how Judd's career took a nose dive so quickly and suddenly when it looked like she was going to be the next major box office draw in the vein of Roberts and Bullock.Sadly now it makes sense and it angers me so so much.

December 16,2017 | Unregistered CommenterRami

I really do hope Judd turns her political activism toward running against Mitch McConnell (R - Kentucky) for his Senate seat in 2022.Senator Judd has a nice ring to it,amirite?

December 16,2017 | Unregistered CommenterCraig

Just read that Terry Zwigoff wanted to cast Mira Sorvino in Bad Santa,but was put off when Weinstein dropped the phone every time her name was mentioned.

It's really easy to see how careers can be killed in an industry where everyone relies upon "word of mouth"references to see if they can be trusted to work with drama-free.In an industry full of snakes with agendas and personal vendettas like Weinstein,a few well placed lies about someone's attitude at work can cost them roles and fatally damage careers.

Filmmakers and Producers need to be more careful now when they ask around for references.If you want to hire someone,don't just rely upon one source as a reference for their on-set behavior.Ask multiple sources.Or even speak to the actor or actress that you were thinking about hiring,and ask them if stuff you've been told about their behavior is true.They may deny it,but if you really believe in their talent for the role,let them know you are taking a chance on them even with a poor reference.And I gurantee most of those actors will be grateful and be on their best behavior,because nobody wants that reputation.

December 16,2017 | Unregistered CommenterSal

They both should host the oscars and stick the finger to Hollywood!亚博主页

December 16,2017 | Unregistered Commentertherealmike

Is there any YouTube recap with all the actresses who tearfully thanked Weinstein at awards shows?

December 16,2017 | Unregistered CommenterCynical

Cynical,Meryl Streep called him GOD on the Oscar Stage.

December 16,2017 | Unregistered CommenterAmanda

I'm remembering when you guys did the Smackdown for Mira's year and everyone just wondering what on Earth happened to her after she won the Oscar.Horrific that he could derail her career after she reached that kind of recognition.

December 16,2017 | Unregistered CommenterNick T

It is ridiculous she and Mira Sorvino did not have a bigger career - I always thought they just had bad luck or picked bad roles.And now we know it was Harvey F--ing Weinstein.What a loathsome,vindictive creep.It can't be said too much.

Anyway,hear hear for an Ashley Judd renaissance!Husband and I have been watching this little-known but quite good spy/thriller series BERLIN STATION on EPIX (yes,that is a real cable channel),in which she has a central role in season 2 and is excellent in it.It's worth checking out if you can find it - the cast includes other underrated gems like Richard Jenkins,Rhys Ifans,and Michelle Forbes.

December 16,2017 | Unregistered Commenterlylee

Always amazed me that Judd didn't have a bigger career.In the small things she did prior to leading lady (Smoke and Heat are the things that come to mind immediately,but even her cut scene from NBK) she's so legitimately amazing in the "this woman will eventually win an oscar"way.

Sorvino I didn't really care for but that someone with an oscar should fall of the radar pretty much immediately seemed to weird to me and now it makes total sense.

December 16,2017 | Unregistered CommenterPeter

Amanda - please let us deal with facts- it was the Golden Globes stage and the God comment was clearly a joke saying that he was not the benevolent God from the New Testament but more the punisher from the Old Testament

December 16,2017 | Unregistered CommenterJamie

Ruby in Paradise,Come Early Morning,Bug.Ashley Judd should have 3 Oscars.亚博主页Bring on the Judd-aissance

December 16,2017 | Unregistered CommenterErnie

Also on Golden Globe stage,the lovely Jen-regular person-Lawrence thanked Harvey for killing whoever he had to kill to get her up there.
Interestingly quite on topic with this article don't ya think?

December 16,2017 | Unregistered CommenterFrancis6

Grateful to all the commenters who feel that some blame can be spread to actresses who thanked Harvey on awards stages.Such a practical illumination of how the disgusting behaviors of powerful men can so quickly be redirected at women,just because.

December 16,2017 | Unregistered CommenterMike in Canada

Mira sorvino should've gotten her own tv show based on that guest star in will and grace alone.

December 16,2017 | Unregistered CommenterRizz

This week I saw Mira Sorvino starring in a Hallmark Channel Christmas movie.

December 16,2017 | Unregistered CommenterPedro

I saw that Terry Zwigoff tweet,too.The Weinsteins would literally HANG UP THE PHONE when he suggested Mira Sorvino for Bad Santa.Not even coyly recommend a differenr actress or change the subject,but HUNG UP ON HIM.


December 16,2017 | Unregistered CommenterJakey

Next a big LOTR super-fan,but wondering Mira or Ashley would've been even better for the roles that ultimately went to Cate Blanchett and Liv Tyler.Both of these cast actresses seemed okay for the part.
Also-now is the time for Peter Jackson or any director to cast Mira,Ashley,Annabelle or Rose ahead of all the actresses.

December 16,2017 | Unregistered CommenterTOM

I feel like Peter Jackson should make it up to Ashley Judd by writing and directing her in a kickass part just for her

December 16,2017 | Unregistered CommenterDavid

Mira Sorvino's case is truly devastating and I can't imagine what she must be going through as these revelations come out.I mean,she won an Oscar in her 20's...there are actresses in their 20s who only need the nomination to see their lives change.She should've had a slew of prestige projects put before her,a Vogue cover,and a front row seat at the Paris couture shows...instead she works for a few more years in film and now picks up scraps in Lifetime movies.

December 17,2017 | Unregistered CommenterBia

Sorry these actresses have had their careers so adversely affected by that seriously evil guy.My God!

Having said this....I don't think these two actresses were better choices than Liv Tyler or Cate Blanchett.Both those actresses were perfectly cast.I see some people on various forums have started to hate on Tyler and Blanchett,wishing they had never been cast.

Low blow - these two were amazing in LOTR.

December 17,2017 | Unregistered CommenterDaniel

Mira didn't thank Harvey in her Oscar speech for whatever its worth.

I've seen so many people say PJ and TZ are complicit and while that's perhaps true to a certain small extent,in both times (LOTR and BAD SANDA) he was acting in a position of producer and financier and distributor whose role it is to help a director achieve his vision.They took bad advice from Harvey that was tainted,but they had no reason to assume he was being malicious and self-protective in his advice that Judd and Sorvino shouldn't be hired for those films.

December 18,2017 | Unregistered CommenterGlenn Dunks

I think this is so awful.In James Ulmer's Hot 100 list there's some industry "gossip"and now I just sit and wonder what is Weintein's quote on Sorvino and Judd.Sorvino's gossip is almost completely negative,and Judd is kinda mixed.

I think Ashley Judd still managed to get consistent work in Hollywood,but maybe not on par with what her star promised back in the 90s and with the hit Double Jeopardy.Although she was blacklisted and smeared,she still managed to get some pretty high-profile studio projects where she got the play the lead.(Someone like you,High Crimes,Twisted) They weren't successful but it was still an attempt to establish her as a leading lady all the way into the mid 00s.

But Sorvino on the other hand,she just fell from grace after Mimic/Replacement Killers.I feel so sorry for her and her tweets about this is heart-wrenching.To not only cope with the sexual harrassment,but also the smearing.Good god.

December 18,2017 | Unregistered CommenterJesper

I'm late to this post but just had to also add my voice to the outrage here.I particularly feel for Mira Sorvino who was cut off at what was the beginning of a very promising career.

The thing is,the competition for good roles,really any roles,is so fierce that any whiff of "difficulty"is enough to keep you from getting cast unless you're Streisand / Roberts level box-office,and even then it will catch up with you.

Women really only have a few years to grasp any opportunities that come their way and Weinstein assured they wouldn't get those opportunities in their prime years.

Here's praying for a killer role on TV or in the movies to come along to redeem these actresses and re-set their careers.

December 18,2017 | Unregistered CommenterDave in Hollywood

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