If you were making a sequel to a Nicole Kidman movie but Kidman was unavailable, who would you turn to? How about New York stage actress Bryce Dallas Howard? Sure, the moviegoing public hasn't seen her before, but she's already building an impressive movie résumé. Did we mention that she's the daughter of director and Hollywood power player Ron Howard?
According to the Hollywood Reporter, Bryce Dallas Howard is in talks to replace Kidman in ''Manderlay,'' Lars von Trier's sequel to his forthcoming movie ''Dogville.'' That film, which premiered in May at the Cannes Film Festival, starred Kidman as Grace, a woman seeking refuge in a hardscrabble Colorado town during the Depression. It was to be the first movie in von Trier's (''Dancer in the Dark'') trilogy of films set in America with Grace as a protagonist. ''Manderlay'' is said to be set in a Southern community where sharecropping has returned black residents to conditions of near-slavery. At Cannes, Kidman publicly pledged to finish the trilogy with the Danish director, but she backed out later, citing scheduling conflicts that would keep her from the ''Manderlay'' shoot, scheduled for March in Denmark.
''Manderlay'' would mark the second such role for Howard, who stepped into a part vacated by Kirsten Dunst earlier this year in ''The Village,'' the next chillfest from ''Signs'' filmmaker M. Night Shyamalan. After Dunst dropped out to shoot ''Elizabethtown'' for ''Jerry Maguire'' director Cameron Crowe, Howard was cast in the movie, which began shooting in October with Sigourney Weaver, Adrien Brody, Joaquin Phoenix, and William Hurt. Aside from walk-on parts in her dad's ''Apollo 13'' and ''How the Grinch Stole Christmas,'' ''The Village'' was to mark Howard's film debut. However, her first film to reach audiences may be ''Book of Love,'' an indie drama that costars Simon Baker and Frances O'Connor and will be screened in the dramatic competition at next month's Sundance Film Festival.