Keisha Castle-Hughes is an Australian-born New Zealand actress. She has appeared in films such as Whale Rider, Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, The Nativity Story, and Piece of My Heart. She has also appeared on The Walking Dead.
She received an Academy Award nomination for Best Actress for her debut performance in Whale Rider, and at the time was, at age 13, the youngest person in history to be nominated for the award until 2012, with 9 year old Quvenzhané Wallis, nominated for Beasts of the Southern Wild.
As of 2015, Castle-Hughes lived in Los Angeles with her husband of two years Jonathan Morrison and her daughter from a previous relationship Felicity-Amore, age 8.
On Game of Thrones
When the TV adaptation started to air on HBO she watched it avidly, but when Oberyn Martell was introduced in Season 4, she started to wonder if she could obtain a role in the show:
- "When Pedro showed up, I said, ‘Who is this person?’ He was sexy and powerful and devilish. I went back to the books. I remembered the Sand Snakes. I felt I could pass as Pedro's daughter. And then I campaigned with the series’ London casting directors. I was definitely persistent."
She was trained in the Chinese martial art wushu for the role.
In an interview with Variety, Keisha explained that she and the other two Sand Snake actresses in Season 5 extensively worked out what the group dynamic between them would be, and what differentiates each sister:
- "Obara Sand, she’s the eldest of eight bastard daughters of Oberyn Martell. He loved each and every single one of them but I think that Obara likes to think of herself as the favorite. She wields the same weapon as her father, and she’s the most like him in the sense that she has no other aspirations. Some of her sisters have aspirations to become politicians or to become septas or to become faceless women. Obara simply just wants to grow up and be Oberyn Martell. And so the interesting thing is, she’s also very unemotional in comparison to the rest of the Dornish people. She describes herself as a warrior monk. She kills people only to take in equal measure, which sounds like it doesn't work but in Dorne it makes so much sense. So she’s taken the death of Oberyn very hard, and so it was an interesting… there was a lot of discussion with myself and the other actors and David [Benioff] and Dan [Weiss] and the directors that we work with around how we show that without her becoming emotional — because she’s not an emotional person — but also without her seeming like she’s dead inside, because that is a very fine line. She doesn't show a lot of emotion, and so there was a lot of work around how we show everyone how hurt she was by his death.
- ...Absolutely, Obara is the leader of the three. One, because she’s the eldest; two, because she’s the best fighter of the three; and she’s the coldest, so I don’t think anyone would even bother trying to argue with her, because the concern is that she’d turn around and throw a spear at them. Her relationship with Nymeria, who’s the second sister who has the whip, is a very important one. I think apart from her relationship with Oberyn while he was alive, Nymeria is the only other person in Obara’s life that she completely trusts.
- And you see from the get-go that Nymeria does nothing unless Obara gives her approval. And they’re a really wonderful duo because Obara reacts off of instinct and is very reactive, and even though she’s unemotional about it, she doesn’t have a rational bone in her body. Nymeria is much more rational and might try to think of the long game, and Obara needs someone like that in her life. In fact, Jessica — who plays Nymeria — and I had set up this backstory that Nymeria was literally the only person in the world who could tell Obara no, and she probably wouldn’t take it lightly but she’s the only person that she could ever take advice from."
Regarding her training with a spear like Oberyn wielded, she also said:
- "I was really lucky. I’m half Māori and so I've worked a lot in my life with a Taiaha which is a Māori weapon which is very similar to the spear. So it wasn’t completely foreign to me to have that in my hand, which was really nice."
While Keisha based much of her performance on obsessively watching Pedro Pascal's performance as Oberyn (even before casting for Obara began), as of May 2015 she said that she unfortunately hasn't had a chance to meet him in person yet.
|Season Five credits|
|The Wars To Come||The House of Black and White||High Sparrow||Sons of the Harpy||Kill the Boy|
|Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken||The Gift||Hardhome||The Dance of Dragons||Mother’s Mercy|
|Season Six credits|
|The Red Woman||Home||Oathbreaker||Book of the Stranger||The Door|
|Blood of My Blood||The Broken Man||No One||Battle of the Bastards||The Winds of Winter|
|Season Seven credits|
|Dragonstone||Stormborn||The Queen's Justice||The Spoils of War||Eastwatch||Beyond the Wall||The Dragon and the Wolf|