As you’ve no doubt heard, Lady in the Water star Bryce Dallas Howard will replace Rachelle Lefevre as the vampire Victoria in Eclipse, the third film in the Twilight franchise. (Do we think Lefevre, pictured here at Comic-Con, already knew?) Summit Entertainment cited a scheduling conflict, which UPDATE: Lefevre has now confirmed is a role in the independent movie Barney’s Version (starring Dustin Hoffman and Paul Giamatti, according to IMDB). She says she was “stunned” by Summit’s decision not to accommodate her 10-day commitment to Barney’s during Eclipse‘s production, which will run more than three months. While this could support one of the alternate theories running on our News Briefs blog — producers wanted to replace Lefevre with an actress they believe could better embody Victoria’s wrath (which I could buy) — some in the media are expecting fans to be outraged because “They don’t want anything to change in their Twilight Zone.” Personally, I’m not that upset for what this means as a moviegoer (though hearing Lefevre say she was blindsided does make me sad for her as a human). UPDATE #2: Summit has released a statement claiming it was the one blindsided when it found out, only on July 20, that Lefevre would need to miss rehearsal and days of principal photography on Eclipse, which begins shooting in early August.
Maybe I’m not up in arms because I enjoyed the books more than the first film, and still, when I picture the characters in my mind, don’t actually see the actors. I envision something more like the sketches from a-ha’s “Take On Me” video, and they’re in erasable ink so I can tweak them page-to-page, moment-to-moment. Perhaps I’ll grow more attached to the cast after The Twilight Saga: New Moon hits theaters (especially if its script is better than the first film’s), but at this point, the only supporting player I’d be seriously bummed by Summit replacing would be Billy Burke. You actually got to know his character, Bella’s dad Charlie, enough in the first movie to get attached — unlike any of the vamps, save Edward — and his acting was perfectly adequate, so what would be the point? (Before you pounce: I would be somewhat disappointed to see Peter Facinelli and Elizabeth Reaser, Carlisle and Esme, go; but I still have to look up the names of the other Cullens actors.)
What about Robert Pattinson, Kristen Stewart, and Taylor Lautner, who you write about every other day, you ask? Oh, Summit should NEVER replace them or there would be Twi-hard rioting and we’d have to give up our Taylor Lautner Bicep Watch category. But, if I truly believed the new actors would bring more to the book characters — to whom my loyalties lie — I’d give them a chance. I’m not saying I want them replaced; I’m just saying that if they were, it wouldn’t equal an instant boycott from me. At least until I see Stewart running to stop Pattinson from stepping into the sunlight in Italy and Lautner’s soft smile contrasting with his hard abs on the big screen, I’m still more invested in the characters than their performances.
Do I just need to Twi-harder, or does anyone agree? Vote in the poll after the jump.
PHOTOGRAPH BY MICHAEL MULLER