It took Daniel Day-Lewis almost a decade to join his wife, writer/director Rebecca Miller, in making Ballad, in which he plays Jack, a staunch environmentalist who lives on a former commune, isolated except for his tight relationship with his 16-year-old daughter, Rose
(Camilla Belle). Keener plays the woman who turns their delicate world tumultuous. Miller sent Day-Lewis the script about eight years ago, before he'd met her. ''I was both attracted to it, and at the same time I knew in that moment I wasn't able to do it,'' he says. ''But I loved the way it was written: She has that wonderful thread of humor that
runs through everything.'' The two met not long after, married, and years later the timing was right. Filmed chronologically a rarity in the spare environs of Prince Edward Island, the movie (which debuted
at the recent Sundance festival) was shot in a slim seven
weeks, a spree compared to Day-Lewis' previous eight-month shoot on Gangs of New York. ''To have a chance to go back to working that way was a joy in itself,'' he says. ''[The story] is just alive, right in front of you the whole time.''