Rachelle Lefevre And Summit Entertainment Trade Barbs Over ‘Eclipse’ Recasting

Late yesterday, Rachelle Lefevre issued a public statement concerning Summit Entertainment’s decision to replace her with Bryce Dallas Howard in “The Twilight Saga: Eclipse.” I won’t reprint the comments in their entirety, but Lefevre admits that she was “stunned” by the decision and is “greatly saddened that I will not get to complete my portrayal of Victoria for the ’Twilight’ audience.”

It’s an unusually frank admission and — to be honest — it reads to me like an indirect appeal to the sizable “Twilight” fan community. Or it could just be a kneejerk disappointed response (and an ill-advised one) to the sudden firing. Unsurprisingly, Summit issued a responding statement shortly afterwards. Their release boils down to a list of bullet points meant to “set the record straight” after Lefevre’s “decision to discuss her version of the scheduling challenges publicly” left the blame squarely in the studio’s lap. Again, I’m not going to reprint the whole thing; here’s the punchline:

“The fact remains that Ms. Lefevre‚Äôs 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.'”

So what we have here is… a pretty dicey situation. Whether or not you’re a fan Lefevre’s work in the “Twilight” series, her statement is borderline inappropriate. Those of you who would take issue with Summit here need to keep in mind that they make some good points about the ex-Victoria’s actions leading to the recasting.

If Summit’s allegations are accurate, Lefevre signed on for another project without consulting her “Twilight” partners and then waited a month and a half before letting them know. That was 10 days ago, on July 20. Since the principal shooting for “Eclipse” is scheduled for “early August” and there’s an expectation that the cast will be available to rehearse beforehand, you might say that waiting until less than a month out exceeds the limitations of acceptable short notice.

Really though, Summit’s strongest point is that “Eclipse,” being an “ensemble production,” must cater to the schedules of a sizable group of working actors and crew. The week or so overlap between Lefevre’s other project and the “Eclipse” shoot is irrelevant. No one else in the cast is exactly hurting for work, and they’ll all be on hand when the cameras start to roll in August.

In my mind at least, it was irresponsible of Lefevre to accept a project on which she knew there would be even a minor scheduling conflict. I’m not saying that Summit is blameless here — perhaps she had her reasons for leaving the “Twilight” studio out of the process for so long — but film shoots are unpredictable animals. The 10 day scheduling overlap could easily turn out to be much longer if something unexpected occurs on the set of Lefevre’s other movie. Not to mention the fact that a multi-million dollar production for what is arguably one of the biggest franchises out there right now is kept waiting because of a single person.

I won’t go so far as to call Ms. Lefevre’s statement selfish, but it is remarkably one-sided and ignorant of the big picture concerns. Whether or not you’re pleased with the addition of Bryce Dallas Howard to the cast, it’s hard to argue with Summit’s logic here. Lefevre put the studio in a position of having to potentially delay or rearrange the production schedule around one person, someone who notably does not have star billing. Perhaps the recasting was motivated by something more, but regardless, I see Summit as being completely in the right here.

MTV spoke to Alexa Chung fans in line yesterday to get their opinions on the casting switch. Check those responses out in the below video. Remember, I also want to hear what you think! Record a video response to the Lefevre/Howard changeover and then upload it to Your MTV. Just make sure to tag it with “Twilight — Victoria casting.” And as always, I encourage you to sound off with opinions in the comments section below.