Won’t you be my neighbor? Welcome to ‘The Village’

Series enlists an ensemble cast to be neighborly

Michaela McManus (left) and Grace Van Dien star in “The Village,” premiering Tuesday on NBC.

It took a “Village” for some familiar faces to find their next series.

Premiering Tuesday, March 19, 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,” the pleasant 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. She’s kind of the daughter I always wanted in real life.”

Michaela McManus stars in “The Village,” premiering Tuesday on NBC.

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 of it. She deems the situation “pretty special, having known Mike for as long as I have and having heard about this from the moment it popped into his mind. It certainly makes me feel even more connected to the material.”

With such other shows as “Aquarius,” “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” and “One Tree Hill” in her television history, McManus says she 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.”

Jay Bobbin

Jay Bobbin

Jay Bobbin has decades of experience covering the television and movie businesses, winning Tribune Media Services’ Crown Jewel Award in 2008 for his performance in the company. Over those many years of interviewing and writing, he has spoken with everyone from Robert De Niro and John Travolta to Paul McCartney and Tony Bennett … from Meryl Streep and Julie Andrews to Taylor Swift and Carrie Underwood.

jbobbin has 1997 posts and counting.See all posts by jbobbin

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