Bryce Dallas Howard replaces Rachelle Lefevre in Eclipse

Summit Entertainment announced that Terminator Salvation's Bryce Dallas Howard will take over the role of the evil vampire Victoria in the upcoming third Twilight film, Eclipse, replacing Rachel Lefevre, who played the role in the first film and the upcoming New Moon.

The recasting is attributed to a scheduling conflict.

The Twilight Saga: Eclipse will start filming in Vancouver, Canada, in August.

Eclipse is based on the third book in Stephenie Meyer's hit book series and will be directed by David Slade from a screenplay written by Melissa Rosenberg. The film will be released June 30, 2010.

"We are incredibly happy that Bryce has agreed to come into the franchise," Erik Feig, Summit's president of worldwide production and acquisitions, said in a statement. "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."

Here's how Summit describes the third movie:

In Eclipse, Bella once again finds herself surrounded by danger as Seattle is ravaged by a string of mysterious killings and a malicious vampire continues her quest for revenge. In the midst of it all, she is forced to choose between her love for Edward and her friendship with Jacob—knowing that her decision has the potential to ignite the ageless struggle between vampire and werewolf. With her graduation quickly approaching, Bella is confronted with the most important decision of her life.

On a personal note, we've spoken with both Bryce and Rachelle in the past and have a high regard for both actresses. Rachelle, in particular, showed great enthusiasm for her role while doing press for the first Twilight, knowing that her character has a much greater arc in the third movie, and she's been a big booster of the franchise among fans. We're not quite sure why she was replaced, the official reason notwithstanding, and we are sorry to see her go.

On the other hand, we love Bryce Dallas Howard and have since her first appearance in a major role, in M. Night Shyamalan's The Village. Though lately she's been cast as the girlfriend (Spider-Man 3) or wife (Terminator Salvation), she also played a spooky otherworldly creature in Shyamalan's Lady in the Water. We're confident she can pull off the role of the chief nemesis in Eclipse, and the fact that she's got a higher profile will not hurt the franchise.

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