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Like many famous movie villains, actress Rachelle Lefevre received an enormous fan following after playing a vengeful vampire in "Twilight" (2008). The film was a monster hit, thanks in large part to the millions of die-hard fans who propelled its young cast out of obscurity and onto Hollywood's A-list. Already an accomplished feature film and television actress when she was still in her twenties, Lefevre studied savage lionesses of the desert in order to accurately portray the deliciously evil vampire Victoria in the movie and its 2009 sequel, "The Twilight Saga: New Moon." Yet nothing could have prepared the actress for the outpouring of support she received from the "Twilight" fan community after her role was recast due to scheduling conflicts in "The Twilight Saga: Eclipse" (2010), the third film in the franchise. While the fan petitions did little to sway the studio's decision to maintain Lefevre as Victoria, her portrayal in the first two films remained one of the most unforgettable and raw performances of any villain - male or female - ever seen on the big screen.
Rachelle Marie Lefevre (pronounced "la-fave") was born on Feb. 1, 1979 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada to an English teacher and a psychologist. The English and French-speaking star studied creative arts at Dawson College near Montreal and spent two summers in a theater program at the Walnut Hill School in Natick, MA. Lefevre graduated from McGill University in Montreal with a degree in Education and Literature. She went on her first audition while working as a waitress in a Japanese restaurant in Westmount, Quebec. A regular customer helped her land an audition for the sitcom "Student Bodies" (YTV, 1997-99). The aspiring actress did not even have a head shot at the time, so she sent in a Polaroid photo. Unfortunately, she did not land the role; however, the casting director for "Student Bodies" took interest in her yet-undiscovered talent and booked her for the television series "Big Wolf on Campus" (YTV/Fox Family, 1999-2002), about a high school student who transforms into a werewolf. Landing a regular role on television soon led to feature film roles in her native country, including the dramedy "Stardom" (2000) and the thriller "Life in the Balance" (2001), starring Bo Derek.
Lefevre made her mainstream American debut in the George Clooney-directed "Confessions of a Dangerous Mind" (2002), the story of game show impresario Chuck Barris and his supposed secret life as a CIA assassin. Lefevre played Tuvia, Barris' childhood crush. She returned to the small screen a year later with two made-for-television films; the romantic comedies "Picking Up & Dropping Off" (ABC Family Channel, 2003) starring Scott Wolf, and "See Jane Date" (ABC Family Channel, 2003), playing the witty and acerbic gal pal to Charisma Carpenter's lovelorn Jane. In 2004, Lefevre played Etta Place - a role originated by Katharine Ross in the 1969 classic "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid" - in the Western drama, "The Legend of Butch and Sundance," about the historic young outlaws. She starred opposite Spanish superstar Penelope Cruz twice that same year, in the war drama "Head in the Clouds" and in "Noel," directed by Chazz Palminteri.
The hardworking Lefevre booked roles both on the big screen and on television. She played Carlin, a troubled teen haunted by the loss of her friend, opposite Ed Burns, in the 2005 thriller "The River King," while also appearing as a free-spirited young woman on the short-lived Fox sitcom, "Life on a Stick" (2005). She bounced around as a guest star on various drama series including "Bones" (Fox, 2005- ) and "Veronica Mars" (UPN, 2004-06; CW, 2006-07). In 2007, Lefevre landed a recurring role as stripper and bride-to-be opposite Matthew Davis and Barry Watson on the sitcom "What About Brian" (ABC, 2006-07).
By 2008, it appeared as if Lefevre was headed for a low key but successful career in television, landing starring roles on two 1970s-themed series, "Swingtown" (CBS, 2008) and "Life on Mars" (ABC, 2008-09), as well as a multi-episode arc on "Boston Legal" (ABC, 2004-08). However, it was her unforgettable appearance in the Catherine Hardwicke-directed "Twilight" that shot Lefevre's career into orbit. Based on Stephenie Meyer's 2005 novel about a young woman falling in love with a vampire, "Twilight" became a phenomenon due to its dedicated and borderline-obsessive fan base. The actress played the renegade vampire Victoria, vengeful towards the human-loving vampire Edward (Robert Pattinson) and who vows to kill his girlfriend Bella (Kristen Stewart). The actress said she was instantly drawn to the feline-like vampire when she first read the novel and prepared by watching videos of lion attacks on the Internet. Committed to her role, Lefevre spent hours creating the fur-lined costume for her character, which became iconic in the "Twilight" fan community.
In May 2009, Lefevre completed production of "The Twilight Saga: New Moon," the much-anticipated second book in the "Twilight" franchise. Her character's growing vengeance and hunger for Bella's blood fit the film's darker undertones and set the stage for "The Twilight Saga: Eclipse," the third film in the series, in which Victoria assembles an army of "newborn" vampires and goes head-to-head with the series' hero, Edward. However, Summit Entertainment, the studio behind the films, replaced Lefevre with actor-director Ron Howard's daughter, Bryce Dallas Howard, when "Eclipse" began filming in August 2009. The studio cited scheduling conflicts due to the fact that Lefevre was also set to film "Barney's Version" (2010) around the same time. In a statement released soon after her recasting, the stunned and saddened actress said, "I was happy with my contract with Summit and was fully prepared to honor it. Summit chose simply to recast the part." The news sent shockwaves through the Twilight community, who rallied behind the star and petitioned to "Bring Back Rachelle" with online signatures, tribute videos, and fan-made shirts. Nothing could be done to reverse the studio's decision, however, and Howard took over as vampire Victoria in "Eclipse."
With the recasting drama behind her, the actress focused on various film projects that showcased her range outside of the vampire genre. She played the artist and wife of the character Barney Panofsky (Paul Giamatti) in the preplanned "Barney's Version" (2010), acted opposite Kevin Spacey in the thriller "Casino Jack" (2010), and filmed the pilot for "The Deep End" (ABC, 2009) with Ben Lawson and Tina Majorino. In October 2009, it was reported that Lefevre would join the cast of the period drama "VK," inspired by the true story of Baron Von Kempelen (Adrien Brody), who invented a chess-playing machine in the late 18th century.
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