Elijah Wood & Sean Astin: 'Lord of the Rings' Orc Mask Looked Exactly Like Harvey Weinstein

In The Lord of the Rings trilogy’s storied lore, nothing seems quite as fascinating as recent claims by hobbit actors Sean Astin and Elijah Wood. Both LOTR stars claimed on different occasions that an orc mask looked like disgraced producer Harvey Weinstein. 

During the ‘Friendship Onion’ podcast, Sean Astin recalled seeing the mask

In September 2021, Sean Astin, who played Samwise Gamgee in the Lord of the Ring trilogy, revealed an odd memory. Just after arriving in New Zealand for the gargantuan shoot, Astin said he visited the production facility. 

The actor explained what happened next to The Friendship Onion podcast hosts Dominic Monaghan and Billy Boyd, who played hobbits Merry and Pippin. 

“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,” Astin said on the podcast. “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. I didn’t know if I was supposed to say anything.”

The Rudy actor continued, adding that he was unaware of behind-the-scenes drama at Miramax that delayed the trilogy for years on end. To sum up, the movie eventually went to New Line Cinema. 

“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 continued. 

Harvey Weinstein reportedly interfered with Lord of the Rings casting decisions

In more recent years, Harvey Weinstein’s career and reputation imploded when New York Times reporters revealed severe abuses of power against women behind the scenes. Weinstein is serving a 23-year sentence on a rape conviction from February of 2020. 

But according to director Peter Jackson, Weinstein is also notable to the franchise because of casting interference. During the 2017 fallout, Ashley Judd and Mira Sorvino claimed to have rejected pressure from Harvey Weinstein. Consequently, they say they suffered smear campaigns as a result. Producers considered them for roles in The Lord of the Rings before Weinstein intervened. In short, Weinstein blacklisted them. 

“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 revealed in a statement at the time. 

Elijah Wood confirmed Sean Astin’s account of the Harvey Weinstein orc mask 

On the October 4, 2021 episode of Dax Shepard’s Armchair Expert podcast, Elijah Wood, corroborated Astin’s story. Wood starred in the franchise as Frodo, corroborated Astin’s story. 

“It’s funny, this was recently spoken about because Dom [Monaghan] and Bill [Boyd] have a podcast, The Friendship Onion,” Wood told Shepard and Monica Padman. “They were talking to Sean Astin about his first memory of getting to New Zealand,” recalls Wood. “He had seen these Orc masks. And one of the Orc masks — and I remember this vividly — was designed to look like Harvey Weinstein as a sort of a f*** you.”

Wood threw in a little of his own contempt, too. “I think that is OK to talk about now, the guy is fu**ing incarcerated,” Wood adds. “F*** him.”

No word on whether any other masks were based on real people. To sum up, we’ll be watching those orc faces a little more closely, now. 

End note 

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