But Heidi Jo Markel tells PEOPLE: "Movies come and go, but someone's health is the most important"

By Sara Hammel Liz Raftery
January 30, 2012 04:15 PM
Michael Buckner/Getty

Demi Moore cited a “personal crisis” as why she dropped out of her role in the Linda Lovelace biopic after being hospitalized last week, according to the film’s producers. But it wasn’t an easy decision to leave the part behind.

Moore, 49, was “devastated” to abandon her cameo as Gloria Steinem, according to Heidi Jo Markel, who’s producing Lovelace with partners Jim Young and Laura Rister.

“It was a shock and a concern for all of us,” Markel tells PEOPLE. “We got a call from [Moore’s representative] on Tuesday morning and said, ‘There’s been a personal crisis and we need to let you know that.’ And we were clueless. We had no idea what it entailed. We just knew she was out, that there was probably a health concern, and to move on.”

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Though Markel and her producing partners were “shell-shocked” when they heard the news, she says their biggest concern now is for Moore to make a full recovery.

“It was mostly that we were worried about her health. Movies come and go, but someone’s health is the most important,” she said. “We just want her to be well.”

With Moore out, Sarah Jessica Parker will now fill Moore’s shoes in Lovelace.

Of Parker stepping in, Markel said: “She’s incredible. She has incredible moxie and strength of character and we were just so overjoyed that we could get her and she was interested in doing the part.”

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