LOS ANGELES — Bryce Dallas Howard is taking over as the villainous vampire Victoria in the third Twilight movie, and the actress who's played the part in the first two films says she was "stunned" and "hurt deeply" by the switch.
Rachelle Lefevre says she was unaware that Summit Entertainment, which is releasing the vampire saga, had chosen someone else to play her part in Eclipse. Summit announced Howard as her replacement late Tuesday, saying Lefevre had scheduling conflicts that would make her unable to participate in the production.
But Lefevre said Wednesday that she was "fully committed" to returning as Victoria. She says her involvement in the drama Barney's Version, starring Paul Giamatti and Dustin Hoffman, would only last 10 days.
"I turned down several other film opportunities and, in accordance with my contractual rights, accepted only roles that would involve very short shooting schedules," she said in a lengthy statement.
"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."
Summit says Lefevre didn't inform the studio she would be shooting Barney's Version — which will require her to be in Europe during rehearsal and at least 10 days of principal photography on Eclipse — until July 20, even though she reportedly signed onto the project in early June. The studio says it made her representatives aware several days ago that taking part in Barney's Version could place her Eclipse job status in jeopardy.
"Contrary to Ms. Lefevre's statement, it is simply untrue that the studio dismissed her over a 10-day overlap," Summit said in its own statement Wednesday night. "It is not about a 10-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 news shook up the fervent fans of the Twilight series: Several are circulating online petitions urging that she return, and the top-trending topic on Twitter for a while Wednesday afternoon was "Bring Back Rachelle."
Eclipse, based on the third book in Stephenie Meyer's Twilight saga, is scheduled to begin shooting in Vancouver in August. Part two, New Moon, comes out Nov. 20.
Howard, while a newcomer to the Twilight franchise, is no stranger to blockbusters, having co-starred in Spider-Man 3 and Terminator Salvation. She also appeared in The Village and Lady in the Water.