Keisha Castle-Hughes As Virgin Mary In 'Nativity'

Keisha Castle-HughesKeisha Castle-Hughes is to star in the lead role as the Virgin Mary in Nativity, according to Variety.

The 15-year-old, who toplined 2003's Whale Rider, will portray Mary over the two-year period leading up to the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem. Catherine Hardwicke is directing Mike Rich's script.

Castle-Hughes, a native of Australia who moved to New Zealand when she was four, starred last year as the Queen of Naboo in "Star Wars: Episode III -- Revenge of the Sith."

Nativity is being fast-tracked, with shooting to begin in May in Italy and Morocco; aim is to release the pic the first weekend of December.

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