Twilight's Rachelle Lefevre 'stunned' by recasting

A day after Twilight studio Summit Entertainment announced the replacement of Rachelle Lefevre with Bryce Dallas Howard in the key role of Victoria in the third movie, Eclipse, Lefevre broke her silence to Access Hollywood, saying she was "stunned" by the decision.

"I was stunned by Summit's decision to recast the role of Victoria for 'Eclipse,'" Rachelle said in a statement to the entertainment show.

Summit attributed the change to schedule conflicts.

Here's the rest of Lefevre's statement:

"I was fully committed to the Twilight saga, and to the portrayal of Victoria," Rachelle continued, explaining the turn of events that led to the casting change. "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 10 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 10 days and would not accommodate me. Given the length of filming for Eclipse, never did I fathom I would lose the role over a 10-day overlap. I was happy with my contract with Summit and was fully prepared to continue to honor it. Summit chose simply to recast the part. ...

"I am greatly saddened that I will not get to complete my portrayal of Victoria for the Twilight audience. This is a story, a theatrical journey and a character that I truly love and about which I am very passionate. I will be forever grateful to the fan support and loyalty I've received since being cast for this role, and I am hurt deeply by Summit's surprising decision to move on without me. I wish the cast and crew of Eclipse only the very best."

On Wednesday, Lefevre tweeted to her fans: "I am so touched by all your responses and feel incredibly blessed to have fans like you. From the bottom of my heart: THANK YOU."

Lefevre played the villainous Victoria in the previous two Twilight movies, including New Moon, which is due Nov. 20.

The Twilight Saga: Eclipse will start filming in Vancouver, Canada, in August. The film will be released June 30, 2010.

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