07/29/2009 AT 7:10 PM ET
Twilight fans weren’t the only ones surprised by the news that Bryce Dallas Howard was replacing Rachelle Lefevre on the third film Eclipse.
“I was stunned,” says Lefevre in a statement. “I was fully committed to the Twilight saga.”
Lefevre, who played villain Victoria in the first Summit Entertainment-produced film and its upcoming sequel New Moon, said she turned down “several other film opportunities” and accepted only roles with short shooting schedules to make time for Eclipse.
“I am hurt deeply by Summit’s surprising decision to move on without me,” she says.
Summit said the actress was leaving because of a scheduling conflict with her upcoming film Barney’s Version, which begins filming the same day as Eclipse.
But Lefevre says her commitment to the indie film was only less than two weeks. “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,” she adds. “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.”
Lefevre, however, says she “will be forever grateful to the fan support and loyalty” and “I wish the cast and crew of Eclipse only the very best.”
Reporting by LISA INGRASSIA