It took a “Village” for some familiar faces to find their next series.
Premiering tonight, the NBC drama “The Village” centers on a Brooklyn apartment building where the residents are particularly bonded. Among them: a nurse (played by “SEAL Team” alum Michaela McManus) who harbors a secret about her teenage daughter's (Grace Van Dien) parentage; a senior citizen (Dominic Chianese, formerly of “The Sopranos”) who lives with his law-student grandson (Daren Kagasoff); and a couple (Lorraine Toussaint of “Orange Is the New Black” and Frankie Faison of “The Wire”) who serve as emotional anchors for others.
“My favorite part about Sarah is that there's so much to do, in terms of what she's going through in her life,” McManus says of her “Village” character. “She's dealing with a lot of emotions, and it's fun for an actor to play that range.”
A big help, adds McManus, was that she “instantly felt a bond” with co-star Van Dien “which I was so thankful for. I think it's such an important relationship on the show, and when you have that chemistry, I feel that it translates onto the screen most of the time.”
With so many actors of different backgrounds serviced by “The Village,” McManus reports the atmosphere on the set is “pretty magical. The cast gets along incredibly well, and we all had that right from the get-go. Everybody is so talented ... and we never get bored with one another, which is a good sign.”
McManus has a direct link to the forces behind “The Village”: Her husband, “Sons of Anarchy” and “Shades of Blue” veteran Mike Daniels, created the show and is an executive producer. “It certainly makes me feel even more connected to the material,” she says.
With shows like “Aquarius,” “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” and “One Tree Hill” in her history, McManus relates to “The Village” through her own home life.
“I live on a street in Los Angeles with so many wonderful neighbors. Next door is an ER doctor who I've had come over to my house at 10 p.m. to check on my son if he has a fever. Someone across the street just had a baby, and another person down the street has a couple of dogs, so we're always trading stories about our dogs. I haven't had the experience in an apartment complex, but I definitely have it in my little neighborhood.”