Harvey Weinstein has denied Sir Peter Jackson's claims that he banned the director from casting Ashley Judd and Mira Sorvino in the 'Lord of the Rings' trilogy.

The 56-year-old filmmaker helmed the three fantasy movies which were released in the early 2000s, and has claimed that the disgraced producer - whose production company Miramax briefly controlled the movies before New Line Cinema took over - told him the two actresses were ''a nightmare to work with''.

Both Ashley and Mira have recently come forward as two of more than 80 women who have accused Harvey Weinstein of sexual harassment, and Peter now believes his decision to bar the pair from working on the popular movies was part of a ''smear campaign''.

But in a statement from representatives of Weinstein, it was claimed the producer had nothing to do with the casting of the movie, as by the time actors were hired, the project had been picked up by New Line.

The statement, which was obtained by Entertainment Weekly, read: ''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.''

Weinstein's representatives also claim that the producer couldn't have slandered the actresses in the way Peter described, as they both continued to star in movies made by Weinstein.

The statement continued: ''Secondly, until Ashley Judd wrote a piece for Variety two years ago, no one at the Company knew that she had a complaint and she was cast in two other films by Mr. Weinstein ['Frida' and 'Crossing Over'] and Mira Sorvino was always considered for other films as well. There was no indication that Mira Sorvino had any issues until Mr. Weinstein read about the complaints in the news.''

In Peter's original comments, he claimed he was fed ''false information'' on the two actresses, which he believes was designed to deter him from casting them.

He said: ''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. 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.''