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The Cast
"The Village” introduces to the big screen Bryce Dallas Howard who plays Ivy Walker. At the core of M. Night Shyamalan's complex storytelling is the story of the evolution of a girl who becomes a woman. Despite many obstacles, Ivy is driven by her love for Lucius Hunt, played by Joaquin Phoenix and challenges and pushes her limits well beyond the capabilities of the young blind woman that she is.

Shyamalan felt compelled in his "The Village” storytelling to include themes of romance. "I read and reread Wuthering Heights and fell in love with those large, literary sweeping moments that if you fell in love with the right or wrong person there was no compromise. Whether someone was married or not, you had to do what your heart told you. "The Village” is really ultimately about the power of what love can do to create things, and what it can overcome.”

Bryce was cast after being seen by the filmmakers in an off-Broadway Shakespeare play in New York. Night Shyamalan waited to see her backstage and introduced himself. He set up a lunch with Bryce, where he gave her the script and told her he was convinced that she was the one with contagious enthusiasm and innocent energy to play Ivy.

Shyamalan says, "This is the first time film audiences will see Bryce. You are going to think she is Ivy. This character is going to be her. After casting Bryce everything fell into place. It was so clear who else should be on board. There were so many layers to it.”

Says Bryce, "I am so grateful that Night had this amount of faith to cast an unknown actress like myself in this beautiful love story. This unbelievably potent love story of Ivy and Lucius is a love that I think everyone should strive to have.”

Continues Bryce, "Night works with such generosity and lets the actor work freely within the canvas he has created. I think he gives this same gift to the audience, a chance for them to intelligently manipulate and interpret the story. He assumes the audiences imaginations are vivid and that they are starved for a challenging and complicated story.”

In this 19th century story with fairytale aspects, "The Village” takes you by surprise. In a story of so many characters interwoven, the one you least expect, Ivy, emerges as the lead. It is her story. Her journey into becoming an adult yet maintaining her purity and integrity. Night enjoyed this fairytale theme in the film "Alien” where Sigourney Weaver's character, Ripley, had a similar quest as Ivy's.

Says Shyamalan, "Ivy sets an example of courage in ‘The Village.' Courage is doing what you are afraid to do. Even with her obvious disadvantages she takes the ultimate challenge looking forward, not back. We can all admire her tenacity and learn from it.”

Reteaming with Shyamalan after their journey working together on "Signs” is Joaquin Phoenix starring as Lucius Hunt. Shyamalan wrote the part of Lucius with Joaquin in mind.

"I really enjoy reading Night's scripts and talking to him in depth about the story. He knows his characters so well and even if something is not on the page, he knows the history of every single character and shares it with you,” says Joaquin Phoenix. Continues Phoenix, "Lucius is rebellious but in a quiet kind of way, because of the way he has been raised. When the story of "The Village” begins it is the starting point of Lucius' journey on his own, and with Ivy. Like all the characters in the story he is richly unique, but also fully realized.”

"This is such a different experience than ‘Signs.' ‘Signs' essentially had four characters in a house. ‘The Village' has fifteen main roles and then the entire community of a couple of hundred. It is a different process but it is nice to know that Night and I have really developed a shorthand in some res


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