World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Keisha Castle-Hughes

Keisha Castle-Hughes
Castle-Hughes at a press conference for The Vintner's Luck, September 2009
Born (1990-03-24) 24 March 1990
Donnybrook, Australia
Occupation Actress
Years active 2001–present
Spouse(s) Jonathan Morrison (2013–present)
Partner(s) Bradley Hull (2003–2010)
Children 1
Parent(s) Tim Castle
Desrae Hughes

Keisha Castle-Hughes (born 24 March 1990) is a New Zealand actress who rose to prominence for playing Paikea "Pai" Apirana in the film Whale Rider. The film was nominated for many awards, including an Academy Award for Best Actress for which she was at the time the youngest person nominated in the Best Actress category and an award at the Broadcast Film Critics Association Awards for Best Young Actor/Actress, which she won in 2004.

Since she made her film debut, Castle-Hughes has appeared in various films including Hey, Hey, It's Esther Blueburger, Piece of My Heart and Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith. She also played the main role of the Virgin Mary in the 2006 film The Nativity Story. In 2015 she joined the cast of the HBO TV series Game of Thrones in Season 5 as Obara Sand.[1]


  • Early life 1
  • Career 2
  • Activism 3
  • Personal life 4
  • Filmography 5
  • Awards 6
  • References 7
  • External links 8

Early life

Castle-Hughes was born on 24 March 1990 in Donnybrook, Western Australia, to a Māori mother, Desrae Hughes, and Tim Castle, an Anglo-Australian father.[2][3] Her parents, who were never married, later separated. She was 18 months old when her family moved to New Zealand in 1991. She attained citizenship in 2001. Castle-Hughes has four younger siblings, brothers Rhys (born 21 February 1992), Liam (born 1996) and Quade (born July 2006), and sister Maddisyn (born 2001). Castle-Hughes attended Waiuku Primary School, Bailey Road School, Penrose High School, and Rosehill College, all in Auckland.[4]


In 2003, Castle-Hughes made her debut in the film Whale Rider, in which she played the main role of Paikea Apirana (Pai). Due to not having any previous acting experience, she went directly from her Auckland school classroom to the film set when the shoot began in New Zealand in late 2001. Castle-Hughes received widespread critical acclaim for her performance, and in 2004 she received an Academy Award nomination for Best Actress at the 76th Academy Awards. Although she did not win the Best Actress award (it went to Charlize Theron for Monster), at age 13 she became the youngest person nominated in this category at the time and the second Polynesian actress, after Jocelyne LaGarde, to be nominated for an Oscar.

She soon followed the role by appearing in Prince's controversial "Cinnamon Girl" music video and with a shoot in Vanity Fair magazine. In 2004, Castle-Hughes was invited to join the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.[5]

In 2005, Castle-Hughes had a small part as Queen Apailana in Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith. In 2006, she portrayed the starring role of the Virgin Mary in The Nativity Story. New York Times critic, A. O. Scott, said that she "seemed entirely unfazed by the demands of playing Mary. She had the poise and intelligence to play the character not as an icon of maternity, but rather as a headstrong, thoughtful adolescent transformed by an unimaginable responsibility."[6] The Christian-themed film earned only $8 million during its opening week, but its box office surged during the week of Christmas,.[7] Overall, it made approximately US$44.3 million. One critic later speculated: "It may have been harmed by the fact that its leading lady, Keisha Castle-Hughes, was found to be unwed and pregnant just as the movie's publicity campaign began."[8]

In 2008 Castle-Hughes appeared in the Australian comedy-drama film Hey, Hey, It's Esther Blueburger, which was filmed in late 2006.[9]

She reunited with New Zealand director Niki Caro for the film adaption of The Vintner's Luck, which had its international premiere in September 2009. She will also have a starring role in Mona's Dream, the story of Mona Mahmudnizhad.[10]

In March 2010, Castle-Hughes guest-starred as the Creator in the American weekly series, Legend of the Seeker. She starred in the Japanese horror film Vampire,[11] and she also played a recurring role as Axl's flatmate in The Almighty Johnsons which premiered in 2011. In 2011 Castle-Hughes also played a minor part in the film Red Dog as Rosa the veterinary assistant and wife of Vanno.

In 2014 Keisha had a guest role in the American television series The Walking Dead in which she played Joan.[12]

In 2015 she joined the cast of the HBO TV series Game of Thrones in Season 5 as Obara Sand.[1] She pursued a role on the show in part because she is a fan of the books.[13] Castle-Hughes found out that she had won the role the night the Season 4 episode "The Mountain and the Viper" aired, in which her on-screen father's death was shown. She described having a very intense emotional reaction to the scene, because of the connection between the characters on the show.[13]

She has begun writing a screenplay for a feature film.[14]


Castle-Hughes campaigned for John Key initially admonished her to "stick to acting", but offered a week later to discuss the issues with her over tea after she maintained she knew more about them than he gave her credit for.[15]

Personal life

In October 2006, it was announced that Castle-Hughes and boyfriend Bradley Hull were expecting a child together.[16] Their daughter, Felicity-Amore Hull, was born on 25 April 2007, one month after Castle-Hughes's 17th birthday.[16] Castle-Hughes and Hull broke up in 2010 after seven years together.[4][17]

In February 2012, Castle-Hughes's then-boyfriend Michael Graves was arrested and charged with assaulting her as they were driving home from an Oscars party at the Pullman Hotel in Auckland.[18][19] The charge against Graves was dropped in April due to inconsistent witness accounts.[20] Later in 2012, Castle-Hughes began dating DJ Jonathan Morrison. After six weeks together, the couple became engaged in August 2012.[21][22] Their wedding took place on Valentine's Day 2013.[23]

In early 2014, Castle-Hughes revealed that she has bipolar disorder, in the wake of fellow Kiwi television personality Charlotte Dawson's suicide.[24]


Film and television
Year Title Role Notes
2002 Whale Rider Paikea
2005 Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith Queen Apailana of Naboo
2006 Nativity Story, TheThe Nativity Story Mary
2008 Hey Hey It's Esther Blueburger Sunni
2009 A Heavenly Vintage, A Heavenly Vintage Celeste
2009 Piece of My Heart Young Kat TV movie
2010 Legend of the Seeker Maia / The Creator Episode: "Creator"
2011 Vampire Jellyfish
2011 Red Dog Rose
2011–2013 Almighty Johnsons, TheThe Almighty Johnsons Gaia Series Regular - seasons 1-2, Recurring - season 3
2012 Rewind Priya TV movie, post-production
2013 Stolen, TheThe Stolen Aroha Pre-production
2014 Walking Dead, TheThe Walking Dead Joan Episode: "Slabtown"
2015–present of Thrones, GameGame of Thrones Obara Sand 5 episodes
2015 Queen of Carthage Simi Film
2016 Roadies Donna Mancini Pilot


Year Organisation Award Film Result
2003 New Zealand Film and TV Awards Best Actress Whale Rider Won
Washington DC Area Film Critics Association Awards Best Actress Nominated
2004 Academy Awards Best Actress in a Leading Role Nominated
Broadcast Film Critics Association Awards Best Young Actor/Actress Won
Chicago Film Critics Association Awards Best Actress Nominated
Promising Performer Won
Image Awards Outstanding Actress in a Motion Picture Nominated
Online Film Critics Society Awards Best Breakthrough Performance Won
Phoenix Film Critics Society Awards Best Performance by a Youth in a Lead or Supporting Role – Female Nominated
Screen Actors Guild Awards Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role Nominated
Teen Choice Awards Choice Breakout Movie Star – Female Nominated
Young Artist Awards Best Young Actress in an International Film Won
2007 Young Artist Awards Best Performance in a Feature Film – Leading Young Actress The Nativity Story Nominated
2009 Qantas TV and Film Awards Best Supporting Actress Piece of My Heart Won


  1. ^ a b "Game of Thrones season five cast announced at Comic Con!". Watchers on the Wall. 25 July 2014. Retrieved 10 October 2014. 
  2. ^ "Keisha Castle Hughes". The New York Times. Retrieved 9 April 2015.
  3. ^ "Keisha Castle-Hughes Biography". Encyclopedia of World Biography. Retrieved 6 June 2012. 
  4. ^ a b Jonathan Marshall; Stephen Cook (8 October 2006). "From Virgin Mary to mum".  
  5. ^ Academy Invites 127 to Membership
  6. ^ The Virgin Mary as a Teenager With Worries The New York Times. 1 December 2006.
  7. ^ "The Nativity Story (2006)".  
  8. ^ Mal Vincent, "Protest strategy: Hate 'Angels & Demons' quietly", McClatchy-Tribune Regional News (16 May 2009).
  9. ^ For Keisha, the show must go on The Adelaide Advertiser. 23 October 2006.
  10. ^ Mona's Dream. October 2008.
  11. ^ A Visit to the Set of 'Vampire' with Star Kevin Zegers
  12. ^ "Keisha Castle-Hughes to star in zombie smash". New Zealand Herald. 20 October 2014. Retrieved 29 October 2014. 
  13. ^ a b "'"Keisha Castle-Hughes on joining Game of Thrones and playing a 'warrior monk. Watchers on the Wall. 17 January 2015. Retrieved 17 January 2015. 
  14. ^
  15. ^ "Keisha and Key may talk over tea". Dominion Post. 11 August 2009. Retrieved 17 November 2009. 
  16. ^ a b "Introducing Felicity-Amore Hull – Keisha speaks about her labor, delivery, and new little girl". 8 June 2007. Retrieved 19 January 2011. 
  17. ^ "Keisha in Oscar night assault". New Zealand Herald. 29 February 2012. Retrieved 28 January 2013. 
  18. ^ "Keisha Castle-Hughes' boyfriend charged with assault". 3 News. 29 February 2012. Retrieved 28 January 2013. 
  19. ^ Stweard, Ian (13 March 2012). "Keisha's man in court on assault charge" Stuff/Fairfax NZ News.
  20. ^ "Charge dropped against Keisha Castle-Hughes' boyfriend". 3 News. 3 April 2012. Retrieved 28 January 2013. 
  21. ^ "Keisha Castle-Hughes engaged". 3 News. 30 August 2012. Retrieved 28 January 2013. 
  22. ^ Caroll, Joanne; Land, Emma (2 September 2012). "Keisha's wedding shock after six-week romance". New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 28 January 2013. 
  23. ^ "What the gossip mags say". Stuff. 18 February 2013. 
  24. ^ Lu, Anne (22 February 2014). "Keisha Castle-Hughes OPens Up About Bipolar Disorder Following Charlotte Dawson's Death". International Business Times.

External links

  • Keisha Castle-Hughes at the Internet Movie Database
  • The Nativity Story Official website
  • (preview)"Game of Thrones"Castle-Hughes to be in . Stuff/Fairfax. 4 March 2015. 
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.