DVD & Video

Interview: Whale Rider's Keisha Castle-Hughes

''It's about a girl who's trying to find who she is in a male-dominated society,'' explains Keisha Castle-Hughes, the 13-year-old star of Niki Caro's inspiring coming-of-age film, ''Whale Rider'' (PG-13, 101 mins., Columbia TriStar). The tale of the Maori in New Zealand has been embraced around the world, proving that it's more than a chick flick. ''One man said he saw his grandfather in Koro, the patriarch,'' Castle-Hughes says, happily surprised. ''He could relate, even though he was an Italian from New Jersey.'' She hopes the DVD -- which includes a must-see behind-the-scenes cast featurette and a doc on the making of a Te Waka canoe -- will be equally successful. The movie's message is a universal one: ''If you want something, you've got to go out and grab it with both hands,'' says Castle-Hughes, who has a firm grasp on her accelerating career, with ''Star Wars: Episode III'' lined up as her next project. But her brothers and sister back in Auckland, New Zealand, keep her grounded: ''They say, 'It's still your time to wash the dishes.' It brings me back down to earth.'' -- Sumeet Bal

Originally posted Oct 31, 2003 Published in issue #735 Oct 31, 2003 Order article reprints

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