Did I call it or did I call it? I told you there was something fishy going on when Summit announced that they had replaced actress Rachelle Lefevre with Bryce Dallas Howard in the role of Bella-hating vampire Victoria in David Slade’s upcoming “The Twilight Saga: Eclipse”, and that it was all kosher and simply a matter of “scheduling conflicts”. Why in the world would Lefevre allow that to stop her from returning, when “Eclipse” would have promised her her biggest role in the franchise to date? Made no sense at all, and now we know why.
With all the rumors flying around (one site had Lefevre dumping “Eclipse” to do an indie movie called “Barney’s Version”), Lefevre herself has written in to Entertainment Weekly with her take on the situation. Here’s what she wrote in total:
“I was stunned by Summit’s decision to recast the role of Victoria for Eclipse. I was fully committed to the Twilight saga, and to the portrayal of Victoria. I turned down several other film opportunities and, in accordance with my contractual rights, accepted only roles that would involve very short shooting schedules. My commitment to Barney’s Version is only ten days. Summit picked up my option for Eclipse. Although the production schedule for Eclipse is over three months long, Summit said they had a conflict during those ten days and would not accommodate me. Given the length of filming for Eclipse, never did I fathom I would lose the role over a 10 day overlap. I was happy with my contract with Summit and was fully prepared to continue to honor it. Summit chose simply to recast the part. I am greatly saddened that I will not get to complete my portrayal of Victoria for the Twilight audience. This is a story, a theatrical journey and a character that I truly love and about which I am very passionate. I will be forever grateful to the fan support and loyalty I’ve received since being cast for this role, and I am hurt deeply by Summit’s surprising decision to move on without me. I wish the cast and crew of Eclipse only the very best.“
So, why did Summit Entertainment dump Lefevre for Howard again? Sure, Howard has a bigger profile, having been in a string of big-budget Hollywood movies, but come on, she’s no household name. And she’s certainly an unknown to the Twilight fanbase. More clues to the recasting can be found below.
Over on E! Online, they believe money is the reason why Summit dumped Lefevre in favor of Howard:
Official reason is scheduling conflicts, but money may be a part of the problem, too…
First up, Lefevre got a hefty pay increase for the vampire franchise’s third installment, according to sources.
Then she snagged a role in Barney’s Version, an indie flick costarring Paul Giamatti, which she planned to film between the New Moon and upcoming Eclipse shoots.
But then, I’m told, Lefevre’s Eclipse schedule with director David Slade was tweaked and overlapped with Barney’s Version.
“Summit could have made it work,” one source says. “But they saw that they could save a lot of money by recasting her. This could get really messy.”
Eh, forget about the clues. Here’s the real reason for the recasting: before Lefevre’s official press statement had time to stew in the online presses, Summit Entertainment was already on damage control, and sent out their own response to Lefevre’s press release, and they don’t sound none too please with their former castmember (via Comingsoon):
We at Summit Entertainment are disappointed by Rachelle Lefevre’s recent comments which attempt to make her career choices the fault of the Studio. Her decision to discuss her version of the scheduling challenges publicly has forced the Studio to set the record straight and correct the facts.
– Ms. Lefevre’s representatives were advised as early as April that THE TWILIGHT SAGA: ECLIPSE was expected to start shooting in early August.
– If Ms. Lefevre was, as she describes “passionate,” about being part of THE TWILIGHT SAGA, we feel that she and her representatives would have included us in her decision to work on another film that would conflict with the shooting schedule of THE TWILIGHT SAGA: ECLIPSE.
– It was not until July 20th that Summit was first informed of Ms. Lefevre’s commitment to BARNEY’S VERSION, a commitment we have since been advised she accepted in early June. Summit had acted in good faith that she would be available to fulfill her obligations both in terms of rehearsals and shooting availability for THE TWILIGHT SAGA: ECLIPSE. We feel that her choice to withhold her scheduling conflict information from us can be viewed as a lack of cooperative spirit which affected the entire production.
– Furthermore Ms. Lefevre took a role in the other film that places her in Europe during the required rehearsal time, and at least ten days of THE TWILIGHT SAGA: ECLIPSE’s principal photography. This period is essential for both rehearsal time with the cast, and for filming at key locations that are only available during the initial part of production.
– Contrary to Ms. Lefevre’s statement, it is simply untrue that the Studio dismissed her over a ten day overlap. It is not about a ten day overlap, but instead about the fact that THE TWILIGHT SAGA: ECLIPSE is an ensemble production that has to accommodate the schedules of numerous actors while respecting the established creative vision of the filmmaker and most importantly the story.
The fact remains that Ms. Lefevre’s commitment to the other project – which she chose to withhold from Summit until the last possible moment – makes her unfortunately unavailable to perform the role of Victoria in THE TWILIGHT SAGA: ECLIPSE.
Yikes. Put the kiddies to bed, boys and girls, there’s no room for the faint of heart in this here rodeo.
Below: “Whoa, whoa, whoa, where’s my role going? Hey, come back here, role!”