Newcomer Bryce Dallas Howard - the daughter of director Ron Howard - is close to taking on the role of Grace in Lars von Trier's Manderlay, the director's follow-up to this year's controversial Dogville.

"I can confirm that we are negotiating with her, and that we believe she would be a fantastic Grace," said producer Vibeke Windeloev about the young Howard.

The part was originally written for Nicole Kidman. Up until last week, the producers were working on a schedule to try and accommodate the busy actress, who has continued to express interest in repeating her role from Dogville.

"We have been trying to be as flexible as we could, and so was she," said Windeloev, "but even if we moved the production, we could not get a confirmation that Nicole's many other projects wouldn't interfere with our schedule, and we couldn't have that. But because she was still so eager to do it, we haven't really worked hard on getting a replacement until recently."

It was actress Blair Brown, who also appeared in Dogville, who suggested the young Howard to Windeloev after she had seen her in a New York play.

Despite her Hollywood lineage, Bryce Dallas Howard only makes her feature film debut in M. Night Shyamalan's upcoming The Village, and has mostly worked on stage in productions like Tartuffe and As You Like It.

"She has great strength and charisma, and Lars was very happy with his meetings with her when she was here in Copenhagen last week. She is not going to be made up to look like Nicole Kidman, Lars is free to do what he wants now," said Windeloev.

Other cast members include Stellan Skarsgaard, Jean-Marc Barr, Udo Kier, Jeremy Davies and Chloe Sevigny.

Manderlay shoots at the Swedish regional fund Film I Vast's studios in Trollhattan, with much of the same crew as Dogville including cinematographer Anthony Dod Mantle.

Trier wrote the script himself, which this time is set in the American South and deals with issues of slavery. The Zentropa production is co-produced with Ognon Pictures/ Liberator 2 in France, Memfis International /Trollhattan in Sweden, Pain Unlimited in Germany, Manderlay Ltd/ Zoma Films in the UK and Isabella Films International/Something Else in Holland.