• Bible Films Blog

    Looking at film interpretations of the stories in the Bible - past, present and future, as well as preparation for a future work on Straub/Huillet's Moses und Aron and a few bits and pieces on biblical studies.

    Matt Page


    Friday, March 17, 2006

    Keisha Castle-Hughes to play Mary in Nativity

    According to Yahoo and the Hollywood Reporter Keisha Castle-Hughes (right) is going to play Mary in Catherine Hardwicke's up-and-coming Mary.

    I'm starting to get really excited about this film. My initial reaction was cautious, as I thought Mike Rich's script sounded like it could easily go awry in the wrong hands. But others were excited by the choice of Hardwicke, and although I'd not seen any of her films to get enthusiastic about in my own right, some of their excitement rubbed off on me at least a little bit.

    The news about Keisha Castle-Hughes however, has really got me interested. I'm a big fan of Whale Rider the film which made her the youngest ever Oscar nominee for best actress. Although she's now a little bit older (15), she is still young enough to challenge the traditional image of Mary as a woman in her mid 20s (it's a good deal more likely that she was in her teens, possibly as young as 12 according to some scholars). Furthermore, although she is no more Jewish or Palestinian than I am, she at least looks more Middle Eastern than the vast majority of actresses to take the role, in sculpture, painting, or in film.

    On top of this she has already produced one tremendous performance in a film that could easily have gone wrong with a different actress. And working with a director who has a reputation for gritty realism, but a writer who sounds like he is trying to work within the framework of the tradition story could produce explosive results.

    Filming is going to commence in Morocco and Italy during May. Apparently, the aim is to get this ready in time for this Christmas.

    Thanks to Peter Chattaway for the tip off.



    • At 5:56 pm, March 17, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said…

      Wow, that's uncanny ... the first time I saw Castle-Hughes (in Whale Rider) her resemblance to Olivia Hussey struck me ... and of course, Olivia Hussey played Mary in Zeffirelli's Jesus of Nazareth. According to IMDB, Hussey would have been 26 at the time, though ...

    • At 6:16 pm, March 17, 2006, Blogger Matt Page said…

      Yeah I think she was 26 becuase JofN was made 10 years after Zeffirelli caused an outroar by showing her breasts in Romeo and Julliet when she was just 16.

      It also meant that she was (from memory) 7 years younger than Robert Powell who was playing her son. Of course I don't think Castle-Hughes's film includes an adult Jesus (or an adult Mary for that matter).


    • At 2:07 am, March 19, 2006, Blogger Steve Goble said…


      This is a really interesting blog - thanks!

      You might be interested in a review of Passion Of The Christ that I posted a while back here.


    • At 9:41 am, March 22, 2006, Blogger Matt Page said…

      Hi Steve,

      Thanks for your comments, interesting thoughts on The Passion by the way. I've not seen the recut version yet, in fact, I've only seen clips from it since my second viewing in the cinema. On the reality thing I wondered of you've ever seen Pasolini's Gospel According to St. Matthew which was shot in a neo-realist style. Some aspects of it are less realistic than Gibson's film, but some come across as a good deal more.


    • At 9:46 am, March 22, 2006, Blogger Matt Page said…

      News Update.
      FilmChat has just found out from Hollywood Reporter that Elizabeth is going to be played by Shohreh Aghdashloo, who was nominated for an Oscar for her role in House of Sand and Fog



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