Lord Of The Rings Star Recalls Seeing A Harvey Weinstein Mask On An Uruk-Hai Costume
After touching down in New Zealand to film The Lord of the Rings, Sean Astin recalls seeing something he did not expect.
Someone put a Harvey Weinstein mask on an Uruk-hai costume during the production of The Lord of the Rings, Samwise Gamgee actor Sean Astin has revealed. Appearing on the Friendship Onion podcast with two other Hobbit actors, Dominic Monaghan and Billy Boyd, Astin said one of his first experiences after touching down in New Zealand for the mega-shoot was visiting a production facility where he saw something he did not expect.
"I also remember, oh do I even go there--the Uruk Hai outfits, the rubber suits, the villain, the disgusting things that those poor guys had on for months at a time. There was one that looked like Harvey Weinstein. It was an absolute, photo-real image of Harvey Weinstein on this villainous Uruk-hai rubber suit, the mask or whatever," Astin said. "I didn't know if I was supposed to say anything."
Astin said he was unaware of the behind-the-scenes drama with how The Lord of the Rings as a film was originally envisioned when Peter Jackson was developing the films with Miramax.
"I did not, at that point, know about Miramax and how they had initially developed the film and whatever issues they had with that man, who is, uhh, not doing well now," Astin said of Weinstein.
Harvey Weinstein is said to have blacklisted Ashley Judd and Mira Sorvino--two women who say they were denied future career opportunities after turning down sexual advances by Weinstein--from being cast in The Lord of the Rings. Jackson recalled in 2017 that Miramax told him to "steer clear" of the actors because the executives at the film studio had "bad experiences" with them.
After 18 months of work, The Lord of the Rings would eventually shift from Miramax to New Line. "Because we had been warned off Ashley and Mira by Miramax, and we were naive enough to assume we'd been told the truth, Fran and I did not raise their names in New Line casting conversations," Jackson said in a statement.
In addition to this, Weinstein was said to have been concerned about the giant budget for Jackson's The Lord of the Rings and wanted to make just one movie that spanned the whole story. Scripts were leaked, perhaps intentionally, to generate interest at other studios--and that's exactly what happened. New Line came in and financed the trilogy that would go on to become massively successful. Polygon has a fantastic breakdown of how this all unfolded.
As for Harvey Weinstein, the disgraced movie producer is currently serving a 23-year prison sentence after being found guilty of rape at a February 2020 trial.
The Fellowship of the Ring celebrates its 20th anniversary this December, and an epic 31-disc collector's edition for The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies is on the way to celebrate.
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