Karen Valby
August 26, 2011 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Star for Higher
Best known for films like The Count of Monte Cristo (2002), Dominczyk, 35, says Higher Ground‘s producers first wanted ”Marion Cotillard, or a name that would bring more financing to the movie.” But a table read with director Vera Farmiga won her an ally. ”Vera said, ‘I’m doing this movie with Dag.’ ”

Mixed Faith
Dominczyk plays Annika, the best friend of Farmiga’s character. ”[She] is this great mix of being totally spiritual and God-loving yet extremely of-the-earth and sensuous.”

Screen Test
”This was the first movie I went away for since becoming a mother,” says the actress, who has two sons with husband Patrick Wilson. ”It shot in upstate New York. I knew my husband would commute with the boys every weekend, but this was the big litmus test. When I got to set, it was like coming home. I forgot how much I missed it.”

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