It is being reported that Bryce Dallas Howard (The Village, Terminator Salvation) has joined the cast of The Twilight Saga: Eclipse. Who is she playing? Well, the character of Victoria, replacing Rachelle Lefevre who played the role in the first two Twilight movies.

[Update: Both Summit Entertainment and Rachelle Lefevre have issued opposing statements with regards to the actress being replaced. See bottom of the post for details]

Howard joins the already established Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson and Taylor Lautner (as if you needed reminding) in the third installment of the successful vampire-love franchise. Summit Entertainment is citing scheduling conflicts as the reason for replacing Lefevre, and if you look at her IMDB resume, you can get an idea of what she might stupidly be favoring over the cash-cow that is the Twilight franchise. She currently has one film in definite pre-production for 2010 called Barney’s Version, and she’s rumored for another film called Web Cam.

Summit Entertainment had this to say about the switch in casting:

“We are incredibly happy that Bryce has agreed to come into the franchise… Rachelle brought Victoria to great screen life and Bryce will bring a new dimension to the character. The franchise is lucky to have such a talented actress as Bryce coming in to fill the role.”

I admit I haven’t read the Twilight books, so consider me uninformed as to how big of a role the character of Victoria plays in Eclipse. If the reasoning behind the switch of actresses was due to the fact that the character has an expanded role, then I’d say Summit was looking for a better actress (shock horror!) to do the role justice. But since it’s scheduling conflicts, that may not be the case.

UPDATE: It appears that there is indeed more to the story than simply “scheduling conflicts.” Lefevre is arguing that Summit would not accomodate her shooting on another film (which her commitment to was only for 10 days). Here is part of Lefevre’s statement:

“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.”

Summit Entertainment are very much opposing Lefevre with their statement, stating the actress knew full well that Eclipse would be shooting in August and that she should have kept the franchise in mind when committing to another film. Here is part of their 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.”

Are you Twilight fans out there pleased with the change of casting? Who do you agree with about the change of actress: Rachelle Lefevre or Summit Entertainment?

The Twilight Saga: Eclipse is set to start shooting in Vancouver in August, and has a release date of June 30th, 2010.

Source: Variety