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THE VILLAGE

Start Of Production
Echoes of the sound of applause ring through a deep farm valley in southeast Pennsylvania. Faces of "The Village” cast grin from ear to ear with excitement and anticipation as they see the sprawling fortyacre "The Village” set for the first time. The hard working art department and construction crew proudly listen to the sound of their continued applause. After two and a half months of round the clock efforts by these talented film craftspeople, filmmaker M. Night Shyamalan's "The Village” has become a reality.

Only a week away from the start of filming "The Village”, the cast now stand in the middle of a beautifully authentic 1897 town they had only thus far imagined when reading M. Night Shyamalan's screenplay. Shyamalan gives them a guided tour of "The Village” grounds explaining the layout of the cabins, the meeting hall, the schoolhouse, the watch tower… He passionately describes what scenes will take place where with contagious enthusiasm and verve.

The actors disperse and explore "The Village” on their own. Sigourney Weaver and Joaquin Phoenix tiptoe in awe through the house where their mother and son characters live, caressing the handmade props that laden the living room. Adrien Brody reflects on the porch of "The Village” meeting hall overlooking the rolling green vista. William Hurt and Bryce Dallas Howard stand close, not unlike their father and daughter characters, and stroll down the dirt path to their large white house that looks out into endless woods. Now not only do the sets feel genuine to the point of disbelief, but so does the closeness amongst the actors.

During pre-production, the principal cast of "The Village” underwent a late nineteenth century "Boot Camp” – a historical immersion into life in the past, and the skills needed to survive. Wearing their period wardrobe, the cast began to get in touch with their senses, a necessity needed to survive in typically harder historic times.

During the casting process, Shyamalan was upfront with the actors. If they wanted to be in "The Village,” they had to commit to three weeks of boot camp prep time prior to shooting. Says Shyamalan, "I wanted to form a real community of people where they needed to rely on one another for survival. I didn't just want to do my version of this movie. I wanted to be surprised. I wanted to be entertained. I wanted to come to work and not know what was going to happen, and the only way that is going to happen is if the actors are in it with me, standing right beside me.”

The cast visited living history farms in Pennsylvania and dabbled in everything from skinning and tanning to candle-making to blacksmithing to wood chopping, and even butter churning and shearing sheep. Sigourney Weaver was overheard renaming the art of plowing "surfing on dirt,” which she thoroughly enjoyed.

During this historic immersion, the cast bunked together in wood cabins and tents in a remote and rustic communal setting. This retreat location is used in present day as a camp for the Girl Scouts of America organization.

No detail was spared. Even the food at "boot camp” was prepared and served family style. The chef, every night prior to dinner, would pick two cast names out of a hat and those picked would help to prepare the evening meal for the entire group. Everyone participated and shared the tasks and chores. Physical tasks weren't the only things to be mastered by the cast as they prepared for filming. Shyamalan felt it important that the cast understood what it was like to live in a close-knit, isolated community. Shyamalan says, "No matter how independent we are or think we are, people need people and a sense of community. We crave it. Crave to be part of something bigger than us.”

Lectures were given to the cast by p

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