Sir Peter Jackson has claimed Harvey Weinstein banned him 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''.

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.''

Peter has also revealed Weinstein and his brother Bob were like ''second-rate Mafia bullies'' whilst working on the productions, which prompted the director to cut ties with Miramax in favour of New Line Cinema.

Speaking to New Zealand news outlet Stuff, Peter said: ''My experience, when Miramax controlled the 'Lord of the Rings', was of Weinstein and his brother behaving like second-rate Mafia bullies. They weren't the type of guys I wanted to work with - so I haven't. 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.''

Since Peter's interview was published both Ashley and Mira have taken to social media to share their thoughts on his allegations.

Mira, 50, linked to the interview on her Twitter account and wrote: ''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.''

Whilst 49-year-old Ashley simply wrote: ''I remember this well.''