Eclipse Recasting May Deliver More Drama Than The Film

Which of the participants in the mini-play that has erupted over the casting of Bryce Dallas Howard in Eclipse do you suppose sparkles is the evil vampire? Is it Rachelle Lefevre, who claims she didn't know that she'd been scrapped in favor of Bryce Dallas Howard? (Shades of Marvel / Terrence Howard / Don Cheadle there.) Or is it the Summit execs who claim that she made her own bed by taking a job that would have interfered with the Eclipse shoot? Both sides have issued statements, and if you hate Twilight, you'll probably love this.

No matter how this shakes out and who was really right in the end, Summit is going to end up being the one that looks bad. The company could learn a lot of things from the generally superb, sensitive way Warner Bros. handled the Harry Potter series, but here the point is: keep your cast. Should Lefevre not have taken a job on the film Barney's Version? Possibly. But Summit may have done better to find a way to work with her schedule, especially since there have already been two high profile 'employment' issues with the series, with former director Kathryn Hardwicke and Taylor Lautner, whose continued employment was not a given at one point. And if you read the statements that follow from Lefevre and Summit, you might not think the Summit one holds a lot of water. The company claims they weren't informed of the Barney's Version issue until July 20, despite it having appeared in trades ten days earlier.

Here's part of what Rachelle Lefevre has to say about the recasting, as printed in EW:

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 ten 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 ten days and would not accommodate me.

And here's Summit's statement:

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.