5:33pm PT by Kimberly Nordyke
Leighton Meester 'Unavailable' for 'Veronica Mars' Movie; Replaced by Singer Andrea Estella
After weeks of speculation, Rob Thomas announced Sunday that Leighton Meester will not be appearing in the Veronica Mars movie.
The former Gossip Girl star had been rumored to be reprising her role as Carrie Bishop in the film, which is currently in production in Los Angeles. Instead, Andrea Estella, lead singer of the band Twin Sister, will take on the role.
Meester played Carrie for two episodes during the first season of the UPN/CW series, which ran from 2004-07. Her character first appeared in the "Mars vs. Mars" episode when she accused Veronica's (Kristen Bell) favorite teacher Mr. Rooks (Adam Scott) of having an affair with her.
After he hires Veronica, she discovers that he had an affair with Carrie's friend, Susan (Christine Lakin), who was pregnant and did not want to press charges. Lakin has already signed on to reprise her role in the film.
In an e-mail to backers of the movie's Kickstarter campaign, series creator Thomas said he was hoping Meester could appear in the movie but that scheduling issues were to blame.
"Sadly, Leighton was doing a different movie during the same time frame on the wrong coast," he wrote. "In the end, she was unavailable."
He also praised Meester and noted the importance of having an actress who also could sing.
"One of the reasons I wanted Leighton, beyond her talent/beauty/history in the show, was that we needed a performer who could sing in this important role," Thomas wrote. "Once it became evident that we couldn't make Leighton's schedule work, I decided to cast someone from a band I already wanted in the movie."
Thomas said he is a fan of Twin Sister and often played their song "I Want a House" while writing the script for the movie. (Watch a live performance of the song below.) He added that Estella, who will be making her film debut in Veronica Mars, "has an amazing voice; I can’t get enough of it."
Thomas also wrote that at least two of the band's songs will be featured in the film.
For her part, Estella wrote that that she had never seen an episode of Veronica Mars before signing on for her role.
"I watched the Veronica Mars pilot and was totally into it!" she wrote. "It's the exact kind of show I would get obsessed with, so it's been a bit of dream to be in a movie, especially being a messed-up rock princess. How could I say no? I think the VM fans are going to be very happy!"
Estella joins a cast that includes returning stars such as Bell, Jason Dohring, Percy Daggs III, Chris Lowell, Tina Majorino, Ryan Hansen and Enrico Colantoni.