Manderlay: According to The Hollywood Reporter, stepping into a role that had originally been earmarked for Nicole Kidman, Bryce Dallas Howard is in negotiations to play the lead character in Manderlay, Lars von Trier's newest film, sources said.

Von Trier will direct from his own script, and the film will be produced by his longtime producer Vibeke Windelov.

Manderlay is the second installment in a trilogy that began with Dogville, which stars Kidman and Paul Bettany and is scheduled for release next year via Lions Gate.

Manderlay is expected to pick up thematically where Dogville leaves off, telling a story of slavery in the American South. Shooting is scheduled to begin in March in Denmark. At this year's Festival de Cannes, von Trier publicly offered the role to Kidman at the Dogville news conference, and she appeared to accept. But she declined the role two months later because of scheduling conflicts.

Howard, daughter of director Ron Howard, is making her feature film debut in M. Night Shyamalan's The Village (formerly known as "The Woods"), opposite Joaquin Phoenix.

Brian B.