Weinstein 'derailed my career' Sorvino says after Peter Jackson claim

Peter Jackson looks directly at the camera in this 2014 file photoImage copyright Getty Images Image caption Peter Jackson said he was "fed false information" about "talented women"

Actress Mira Sorvino said she is "heartsick" after learning she may have lost out on major roles because of Harvey Weinstein.

Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson said both Sorvino and Ashley Judd were "blacklisted" following conversations with Weinstein's company.

Both actresses have claimed the media mogul sexually harassed them.

Weinstein has denied allegations of misconduct, and of blacklisting the actresses.

The Lord of the Rings trilogy was initially in development with Weinstein's Miramax company, before being passed to New Line Cinema.

In an interview with Stuff.co.nz this week, Jackson said he was interested in casting both women in the blockbuster franchise.

"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," he told the site.

"At the time, we had no reason to question what these guys were telling us."

"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 hindsight, I realise that this was very likely the Miramax smear campaign in full swing," Jackson said.

Sorvino said in a tweet:"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."

Judd, meanwhile, recalled how her involvement progressed far enough to be invited by Jackson to see preparation work for the blockbuster trilogy.

"I remember this well," she tweeted.

"They asked which if the two roles I preferred, and then I abruptly never heard from them again.I appreciate the truth coming out," she said.

End of Twitter post by @AshleyJudd

In a statement through a publicist, Weinstein denied the allegations that he was involved in blacklisting Sorvino and Judd, saying that the casting for Lord of the Rings was carried out by New Line Cinema - not Miramax.

The statement said that Judd was cast in two other films by Mr Weinstein, and that "Sorvino was always considered for other films as well."

Weinstein's denial prompted Jackson to write a further response, carried by Entertainment Weekly, calling it a "deflection from the truth".[6]

"In the 18 months we developed the Lord of the Rings at Miramax, we had many casting conversations with Harvey Weinstein, Bob Weinstein and their executives," Jackson wrote.

"The movies changed hands from Miramax to New Line before casting actually got underway - but because we had been warned off Ashley and Mira by Miramax, and we were naive enough to assume we'd been told the truth, [we] did not raise their names in New Line casting conversations."

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Sorvino made her allegation in October, prompting a wave of further accusations from others

Weinstein is the central figure of the Hollywood sexual harassment scandal, in which dozens of actresses have accused him of misconduct.

Sorvino and Judd were among the first women to publicly share her experiences of sexual harassment from Weinstein back in October.

The Hollywood film producer has "unequivocally denied" any allegations of non-consensual sex....

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Heinz Wolff, Great Egg Race presenter and scientist, dies

Heinz Wolff on his quiz show

Renowned scientist and TV presenter Heinz Wolff has died, aged 89.

The German-born inventor, famed for hosting BBC Two's long-running science show The Great Egg Race, died of heart failure on 15 December, his family said in a statement.

A former advisor to the European Space Agency, he later moved to London's Brunel University to work on projects linked to the ageing population.

Brunel colleagues described him as an "inventive and inspirational leader".

A Jewish refugee, Wolff moved to the UK from Berlin aged 11 on the day World War Two broke out in September 1939.

He went on to graduate from University College London with a first-class honours degree in physiology and physics....

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Sharon Laws: Former cyclist dies after being diagnosed with cervical cancer

Sharon Laws turned a professional cyclist at the age of 33
Sharon Laws turned a professional cyclist at the age of 33

Former Team GB cyclist Sharon Laws has died at the age of 43.

Laws started six months of chemotherapy in October 2016 shortly after learning she had cervical cancer.

The Kenya-born cyclist, a former British champion in time trial, road racing and mountain biking, retired in August 2016.

Laws won the British national time trial title in 2008, was national road race champion in 2012 and won team time trial bronze at the 2012 Worlds.

She was advised to have a biopsy on swollen lymph glands in her neck by her team doctor and later said she hoped to encourage young women, in particular, to have regular smear tests.

A statement issued by Voxwomen on behalf of Laws' family read:"This morning the cycling world lost a champion, a friend, a rider with a huge smile and a fantastic laugh.

"Sharon passed away early this morning after her fight with cancer.Her mum Joy and her family have asked for privacy at this time."...

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Austrian far-right joins coalition led by PM Sebastian Kurz

Sebastian Kurz (R) and Heinz-Christian Strache give a joint press conference in Vienna on December 15, 2017Image copyright AFP Image caption Sebastian Kurz (r) and the Freedom Party's Heinz-Christian Strache reached a coalition deal

Austria's president has approved a coalition government between the conservative People's Party and the far-right Freedom Party.

The deal will make Austria the only Western European state with a governing far-right party, which is opposed to migration and the European Union.

The parties previously governed the country together between 2000 and 2005.

But at just 31, the People's Party's Sebastian Kurz is set to become the world's youngest head of government.

No details have been given about the government's programme, but several important ministerial roles are expected to be handed to the smaller Freedom Party as part of the deal.

President Alexander Van der Bellen gave the green light to the deal on Saturday morning.

He said the new government had assured him of both a pro-EU stance and a continued commitment to the European convention on human rights.

The election on 15 October failed to yield a conclusive result.

The campaign was dominated by Europe's migration crisis, something the anti-immigration Freedom Party has long campaigned about.

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption On the campaign trail, Freedom Party leader Heinz-Christian Strache labelled Sebastian Kurz an "imposter"

Mr Kurz appealed to conservative and right-wing voters with pledges to shut down migrant routes to Europe, cap benefit payments to refugees, and bar immigrants from receiving benefits until they have lived in Austria for five years.

But he has promised to form a pro-EU government, despite his coalition partner's traditional Euroscepticism.

Analysis:A rare far-right success

Bethany Bell, Vienna

Unlike most of Europe's populist parties, the Freedom Party has managed to translate its success at the ballot box into real political power.

It has been a major player in Austrian politics for decades.In recent years, the party has toned down some of its more extreme rhetoric.

But many analysts believe that, in or out of government, it has helped set a right-wing agenda, not just in Austria - but in other countries across Europe as well.

Its stance against immigration is becoming more mainstream, along with its populist tone.

The Freedom Party accused Mr Kurz of stealing their policies.Their candidate, Heinz-Christian Strache, branded him an "imposter".

When the far-right Freedom Party last entered a coalition in Austria in 2000, its fellow EU member states froze bilateral diplomatic relations in response.

Those diplomatic sanctions were lifted months later, after the move failed to force the Freedom Party out of government and amid fears that continued sanctions could further increase nationalist tensions.

That is unlikely to happen again, as resurgent right-wing populist groups have been promoting anti-immigration and Eurosceptic agendas across much of the EU.

But unlike the Freedom Party, they have struggled to convert electoral success into real power.

Earlier this year, Marine Le Pen's far-right National Front party lost the French presidential election comprehensively.Ms Le Pen was defeated by Emmanuel Macron, a liberal centrist and strong supporter of the European Union.

Elsewhere, the Dutch anti-immigration Freedom Party of Geert Wilders was defeated by liberal leader Mark Rutte.

In Germany, the nationalist and populist right of Alternative for Germany (AfD) gained seats in the national parliament, where it is now third biggest party, but it is not in the frame for coalition talks....

References

  1. ^ What propels young leaders to power? (www.bbc.co.uk)

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