Rachelle Lefevre as villainous vampire Victoria in “Twilight”
In an unsurprising development, actress Rachelle Lefevre has accused Summit Entertainment bosses of unfairly ousting her from the third “Twlight” movie, “Eclipse,” according to IMDB.
Again, not surprisingly, studio reps have hit back, claiming the actress demonstrated “a lack of cooperative spirit” by signing up for another film with an overlapping schedule and failing to notify them in a timely matter.
Summit announced earlier this week that Bryce Dallas Howard (“Terminator Salvation,” “Spider-Man 3″) will replace Lefevre, who played the vengeful vampire Victoria in the film version of “Twilight” and the upcoming sequel “The Twilight Saga: New Moon,” in the franchise’s third film, “Eclipse.” The announcement came days after Lefevre, who has been an enthusiastic promoter of the “Twilight” films, touted “New Moon” at Comic-Con in San Diego, Calif.
In a news release, Summit stated Lefevre “will not continue in the role due to scheduling conflicts with another commitment the actor has made.”
According to IMDB, Lefevre was “stunned” and “hurt deeply” to learn that producers at Summit Entertainment had decided to cast another actress as Victoria for the third film. After all, the villainous vamp role is relatively small in “Twilight” and “New Moon,” but Victoria becomes a key baddie in “Eclipse.”
Lefevre says she has signed up to star in the film “Barney’s Version,” which also stars Dustin Hoffman, Minnie Driver and Paul Giamatti, and the production does overlap the scheduled shooting on “Eclipse.” But she never thought she “would lose the role over a 10-day overlap” and that she believes Summit used that overlap as a lever to pry her out of the role of Victoria, according to IMDB.
Lefevre issued a statement on her ouster; here’s part of it from The Hollywood Reporter’s Risky Biz Blog:
“I turned down several other film opportunities and, in accordance with my contractual rights, accepted only roles that would involve very short shooting schedules. …
“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.”
Shooting on “Eclipse” begins in Vancouver on Aug. 17 with director David Slade, according to The Hollywood Reporter. That’s the same day filming starts on “Barney’s Version.” Of course, those start dates don’t account for rehearsals that the respective films’ stars may be required to participate in before shooting commences.
Summit executives countered that Lefevre waited more than a month to tell them about her plans to star in “Barney’s Version.” Producers said they couldn’t alter the shooting schedule for “Eclipse” to let her leave the project 10 days early, according to IMDB.
Summit released a statement about the fuss, and here it is from IMDB:
“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.
“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. 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.
“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.”
It’s impossible to tell which party’s version in this controversy is closer to the truth, but neither Summit nor Lefevre come off as very smart in this situation.
Lefevre is a relative unknown, so her part in the blockbuster “Twilight” franchise was the proverbial role of a lifetime. If it were me, I would make sure that no other project I took on overlapped even slightly with “Eclipse” or any other ”Twilight” obligation. After all, Victoria won’t appear at all in the planned fourth film, “Breaking Dawn,” so there was a definite end in sight for her “Twilight” commitment. And Summit is cranking out these movies fast, so if she hadn’t given them an opening to replace her, she would have soon been free to pursue other projects and try to capitalize on her “Twilight” momentum.
And Summit comes across as a company of opportunistic sharks looking for any chance to trade up for a bigger name on a franchise that started out as a low-budget risk and has turned into a huge money-making opportunity. Who can forget that work on “New Moon” started with Summit parting ways with “Twilight” helmer Catherine Hardwicke in favor of Chris Weitz, with his Oscar nomination for co-writing “About a Boy” and his special effects experience on “The Golden Compass.”
Judging from the buzz around “New Moon” online and at Comic-Con, replacing Hardwicke didn’t have a lasting negative impact on the sequel. And it’s doubtful that fan ire will go as far or last as long to impact “Eclipse,” provided Howard puts in a strong performance as Victoria.
The only real winner in this situation seems to be the indie pic “Barney’s Version,” which is getting plenty of attention at the sunset of Lefevre’s “Twilight” tenure.