The story seems to have died down as I write this. It's been only half a week since Rachelle Lefevre found herself replaced by Bryce Dallas Howard in Eclipse, the third installment of the Twilight film series, and fan backlash aside, it's become more complicated--with Lefevre claiming she was fired over a ten-day overlap, and Summit claiming she didn't tell them about that overlap.
Actually, it's gone quiet because both sides have decided not to release any more statements. Makes sense, because already it's becoming a PR mess for both sides. Fans are either against Summit's move to toss her, or against Rachelle's alleged lack of cooperation. E! Online's Marc Malkin now reports that the fallout has shifted behind the scenes, hidden by legal screens and lawyers. Do I smell a suit?
The official reason is scheduling conflicts--Lefevre would not be able to shoot Eclipse because she's shooting indie drama Barney's Version--but sources say it could also involve money, too. The girl who plays Victoria, after all, got a significant pay increase for Eclipse, which is understandable because she takes a more prominent role there.
After she signed on for Eclipse, Lefevre then signed on for Barney's Version. The plan, according to sources, was that she will shoot that film in the break between New Moon and Eclipse. But apparently the third film's shooting schedule was changed, moved forward, and caused that ten-day overlap and ultimately cost her the role.
"Summit could have made it work," one of those sources said. "But they saw that they could save a lot of money by recasting her."
Which seems to have happened. Summit's playing the it's-Rachelle's-fault card, their last statement saying her failure to let the studio know about her other commitments cost her the role. (Notice the wording on their statement? "[She] chose to withhold [her other commitments] from Summit until the last possible moment.") Also consider that they must've heard of the overlap from other sources, if not from Lefevre, and should've acted on it earlier. Now that they're claiming she violated her contract's terms, she's not due any money.
And Lefevre, on the other hand, is reportedly looking for her money, believing that she didn't violate her contract's terms, and that it's Summit who caused all this trouble by changing the production schedule. "Rachelle's contract says she's allowed to do smaller projects like Barney's Version," one source said. All that, of course, will not leak out to the public, at least officially, because all of their lips are sealed.
My turn to throw in my little thought bubbles, then. First, if this is all about money, then Summit shouldn't worry because the Twilight series is their cash cow. Second, if they're aiming to cast bigger names--undeniably Howard is a relatively bigger name than Lefevre--then why should it be at the expense of someone else? Why risk all that backlash, from fans who remain loyal to their actors, to casual observers (like me) who believe continuity is a must?
Honestly, I don't know which side to take--and you don't need to be a Twilight fan to have one--simply because there are many details which we mere mortals will never know. But whatever may happen, this is bound to be messy, and not everyone will come out unscratched.