Blood is starting to boil over in the Twilight zone.
Earlier today, the deposed Rachelle Lefevre revealed that she was "stunned" and "greatly saddened" by Summit Entertainment's decision to recast Bryce Dallas Howard in the role of villainous Victoria in The Twilight Saga: Eclipse.
And now Summit has fired back, saying the Canadian actress failed to inform the studio until July 20 that she was planning to be in Europe shooting an indie film when the Twilight gang was convening for rehearsals.
"We at Summit Entertainment are disappointed by Rachelle Lefevre's recent comments which attempt to make her career choices the fault of the Studio," reads a statement released by Summit to Access Hollywood late Wednesday.
"Her decision to discuss her version of the scheduling challenges publicly has forced the Studio to set the record straight and correct the facts."
Forget fangs. Those are claws we see.
"It was not until July 20th that Summit was first informed of Ms. Lefevre's commitment to Barney's Version, a commitment we have since been advised she accepted in early June," the statement continued. "Summit had acted in good faith that she would be available to fulfill her obligations both in terms of rehearsals and shooting availability for The Twilight Saga: Eclipse. We feel that her choice to withhold her scheduling conflict information from us can be viewed as a lack of cooperative spirit which affected the entire production."
Lefevre, who appears in the second installment of the franchise, New Moon, said today that she only needed 10 days off to work on Barney's Version.
"Never did I fathom I would lose the role over a 10-day overlap," she said.
Believe us, neither did Twilight fans, who, despite Howard's decent thespian pedigree (not to mention her pale visage and fiery red hair) are up in arms over the casting switcheroo. And, sure enough, there's an online petition to get Lefevre reinstated.
But Summit maintains that Lefevre left 'em high and dry in their hour of need. Or was going to, anyway.
"Ms. Lefevre took a role in the other film that places her in Europe during the required rehearsal time, and at least 10 days of The Twilight Saga: Eclipse's principal photography. This period is essential for both rehearsal time with the cast, and for filming at key locations that are only available during the initial part of production," Summit said.
"The fact remains that Ms. Lefevre's commitment to the other project—which she chose to withhold from Summit until the last possible moment—makes her unfortunately unavailable to perform the role of Victoria in [Eclipse]."
Meanwhile, a source told E! News that Summit could save a few (or more) bucks by recasting Lefevre's role, rather than giving her a promised pay raise for the third film.
The plot thickens. So far, Howard has remained mum on her upcoming role, perhaps figuring it's best to keep a low profile until this undead madness dies off, and then just show up for work in Vancouver looking pretty.
(Originally published July 29, 2009, at 8:56 a.m. PT)
As if this heated feud doesn't already have you lusting for New Moon's premiere, try looking at these photos.