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Casting The Film
In addition to keeping the writer's vision intact, the team wanted to further anchor the project with an actress who was fresh to the horror genre. Bertino provides, "Liv Tyler is that rare actress who is beautiful, yet also accessible. When I found out she was interested, all it took was one meeting for me to want her in this movie.”

Tyler, an audience favorite since her days as the immortal Elvish princess Arwen in Peter Jackson's blockbuster fantasy The Lord of the Rings trilogy, read the script and was quite impressed by what she found. Tyler enthuses that she "couldn't put it down. It was the first time in a couple of years that I knew I was reading something I absolutely wanted to do.

"I saw layers in it of love story, drama and horror—all of them unconventional,” continues the actress. "I especially liked Bryan's way of saying a lot, but not saying everything. Often in movies, it's all spelled out for you, and the dialogue is very explanatory. But Bryan doesn't write like that; he writes how normal people communicate—with questions lingering. I knew it would be interesting to act that.”

Recently seen as an unwilling lycan in the action-adventure films Underworld and Underworld: Evolution, Scott Speedman signed on to star opposite Tyler as the other half of the besieged couple. Of his interest in the role, he offers, "Kristen and James are not ‘chosen' because of sins from their past, or because they did something wrong. There's no supernatural element; like the Manson family, The Strangers just want to harm.” Speedman also found what others who had read Bertino's script were shaken by. "Bryan doesn't just go right to the scares. The audience actually gets time to breathe with the characters before things get scary as hell. That got me interested from the first pages.” Not only was Speedman excited about the project after he read the screenplay, he couldn't agree more with the casting of the film's Kristen. "While this was one of the better scripts I've read, I also knew that if Liv Tyler was doing the movie, it was going to be good. She always is very organic and alive on screen, and she could generate chemistry with a bedpost.”

Tyler returns the compliment to the actor with whom she would spend many days huddled in shared fear. "I've never worked so closely with another actor before; we're in almost all our scenes together. Scott was generous and giving, which helped us convey the intimacy the script called for—showing that Kristen and James care for each other.”

Both Speedman and Tyler were astonished to find that the author of such a powerful screenplay was, in fact, their junior. "With Bryan, I thought, ‘I can't believe I'm working with a director who's younger than I am,'” Tyler continues. "But as the writer and the director, he saw the big picture—not only of Scott's and my characters, but also of The Strangers and the movie as a whole.”

Bertino was just as proud of the efforts his Kristen and James gave the project. He shares, "I was very fortunate that Liv and Scott brought so much to what I had written. We were able to take things from them and add in extra elements for Kristen and James. This was so helpful in establishing their characters before things get rough, and also for the scenes that have little or no dialogue and are in long takes.”

With the terrorized couple in place, the filmmakers were ready to cast the group of relentless intruders. Casting The Strangers called for a unique auditioning process to find three performers who could elicit pure terror in the audience while their masked faces (which are never revealed) show zero affect. Bertino and the producers knew that filmgoers, by not being able to read the expressions of the unwelcome visitors, would project pure terror onto their upcoming actions...and find even greater sympathy for the coup

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