Prior Film Commitment Caused ‘Twilight’ Recast

With Twilight fans all over the world scratching their heads over the decision to release Rachelle Lefevre from her Twilight commitment, it looks like the real reason why the actress was let go is finally coming to light. Additional reporting from Variety has revealed that Summit Entertainment made the decision to recast the role of Victoria after Lefevre disclosed her commitment to Barney’s Version, an adaptation of a novel by Canadian author Mordecai Richler starring Paul Giamatti and Dustin Hoffman on July 20.

The Twilight actress released a statement shortly after news broke of Howard’s casting, stating her dismay, but ultimate support of the franchise.

“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 10 days. Although the production schedule for Eclipse is over three months long, Summit said they had a conflict during those 10 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.”

Hoping to quell confusion and potential dismay from Twilight fans all over the world, Summit also released a statement in support of their decision to recast Howard as Victoria.

“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.”

Twilight fans won’t have long to wait to see how Howard fares as Victoria. The Twilight Sage: Eclipse opens on June 30, 2010.

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