Press releases debate cause for 'Twilight' recasting

The recasting of “Victoria” in the third installment of the “Twilight” franchise either demonstrates that Summit Entertainment is unreasonable or Rachelle Lefevere has “a lack of cooperative spirit.”

Depending whom you ask, of course.

On July 28, Summit Entertainment announced that Bryce Dallas Howard joined the cast of “The Twilight Saga: Eclipse,” the third installment in Summit Entertainment’s vampire franchise. According to Summit’s release, “scheduling conflicts” forced Lefevere to leave the picture.

What film could possibly lure her away from the cultural juggernaut? A supporting role in “Barney’s Version,” an adaptation of a novel by Canadian author Mordecai Richler starring Paul Giamatti and Dustin Hoffman. The indie film does not yet have a U.S. distributor.

So it was unusual but not entirely surprising when Lefevre took the step of releasing a statement expressing her dismay:

“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. 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 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.”

Summit, in turn, released its own statement, one that essentially says, “Uh-UH:”

“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.”

Unknown is whether Lefevre is contractually owed any payment for what would have been her third “Twilight” film. Lefevre is represented by Agency for the Performing Arts and Pearl Hanan Mgmt.

In any case, there is a silver lining: At 7pm PST on July 29, “Rachelle Lefevre” held the no. 81spot on Google Trends, the site that tracks the top 100 terms Googled by users throughout the day – and, at the time, was the only “Twilight” term on the list.

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