Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Eclipse Shake-Up: Rachelle - Out! Bryce - In!

In a stunning move, Summit announced late yesterday that due to "scheduling conflicts" the pivotal role of Victoria had been recast in the third installment of the highly successful Twilight series. Canadian Rachelle Lefevre originated the role of the villainous Victoria and will reprise her role in New Moon which will be released in November. Fan have embraced her portrayal and Rachelle has been very vocal in her commitment and passion to the role. However, due to a conflict with her role in "Barney's Version" she has been replaced by Bryce Dallas Howard (Terminator Salvation, Spiderman 4, The Village). And all hell broke loose.

Summits statement did not ring true to anyone - fans or professional bloggers alike. And I suspect that Rachelle herself was blindsided by the move. She was down in San Diego with the rest of the cast just last week - smiling and happy and looking forward to returning to Vancity in August to resume filming. Theories abounded as to why they would really recast the popular redhead - ranging from Summit trying to curry favour with Howard's father (yes, she is Ron Howard's daughter) to a salary dump (apparently Rachelle - along with the rest of the cast - got a substantial salary increase upon the completion of Twilight).

Rachelle released her own statement to Access Hollywood this afternoon which basically called bulls*it on Summit's version of the events. She stated that she was "stunned" and "hurt deeply" by Summit's "surprising" decision to recast her. She went on to say that "never did I fathom I would lose the role over a 10 day overlap." Apparently the conflict with Barney's Version was 10 days, and Rachelle argues that with a three month production schedule on Eclipse she had thought that the production would work to accommodate her other project.

Fans of Rachelle went crazy when this was released. Petitions have been organised - cause Twi-hard love their petitions. Rachelle/Victoria became a trending topic on Twitter. Many brought up the fact that both Elizabeth Reaser and Cam Gigandet were able to work around other shooting commitments during Twilight. Off with Summit's heads became a rallying cry for Twi-hards everywhere. And David Slade was most definitely put on notice. The director of Eclipse was informed in no uncertain terms that if he had anything to do with this decision - he was screwed.

As expected, Summit retaliated, releasing their own statement which took a much less friendly tone with "Ms Lefevre" (in the first statement she was fondly referred to as Rachelle). In this statement, Summit asserts that Rachelle had waited well over a month to inform them of her role in Barney's Version, which they view as a "lack of cooperative spirit which affected the entire production". Not only that, they claim that Rachelle's representatives were informed in April that she would be required in August for Eclipse and that they were not consulted in her decision to accept a role in Barney's Version. Further, they assert that the time that Rachelle would not be available was during the "required" rehearsal period as well as "at least" ten days of principal photography. They go on to claim that certain locations were only available during the initial part of the production schedule.

So this has basically boiled down to a case of Summit said, Rachelle said. While I am sad that Rachelle will not continue on as Victoria, if what Summit says is true, her people deserve a swift kick in the arse for being so cagey about the role. I am not in the "biz", but when you are signed on for a role and another role comes up that conflicts with the original role, wouldn't it make sense to try and work something out? If not with Summit, then what about the other production company? I am sure that the rest of the cast has had to turn down roles due to their commitment to the Twilight Saga.

This story is most definitely not over. The Twi-hards are gonna do their damndest to reverse this decision. Good luck to them, but it ain't gonna happen! The relationship between the studio and Rachelle seems pretty acrimonious and I think that she is done as Victoria. I think it is sad, but I like Bryce Dallas Howard and am confident that she can do a good job in the role. People just need to get over who her father is and let her do her job. I seem to recall a similar outcry when Nikki Reed was cast as Rosalie. Many Twi-hard were infuriated and felt that she was only cast due to her relationship with Catherine Hardwicke. Dakota Fanning was the same. People lost their sh*t claiming that Summit only hired her to get a "big name" in the role. Now everyone loves her! We will see how this plays out.


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