Keisha en­joy­ing ‘golden age’ of TV

Sunday News - - NEWS - AMANDA SAX­TON

KEISHA Cas­tle-Hughes is happy her ca­reer has moved from big to small ... well, in terms of screens, any­way.

The 27-year-old role is fol­low­ing up play­ing Obara Sand in Game of Thrones with the role of a tough, street­wise FMI agent on the hunt for mail­bomber Ted Kaczyn­ski in the Dis­cov­ery Chan­nel se­ries Man­hunt: Un­abomber.

And al­though she tasted early big-screen suc­cess after burst­ing on to the scene as a 12-year-old Os­car nom­i­nee for her role in Whale Rider she says she’s en­joy­ing work­ing on tele­vi­sion rather than in Hol­ly­wood block­busters.

‘‘I think a lot, maybe most, of the best roles are be­ing writ­ten for the TV shows now,’’ CastleHughes says. ‘‘Es­pe­cially as the movies play it safer and safer, the roles writ­ten for women in Hol­ly­wood seem to be get­ting... I dunno, more cliched maybe? But over a sea­son of TV, ev­ery char­ac­ter has to de­velop and grow, and the in­ter­ac­tions be­tween the char­ac­ters have to be be­liev­able. Oth­er­wise, we’ll just switch off. It’s kind of a golden age, I reckon. I just hope it keeps go­ing.’’ EYAD Ma­soud is a swim­mer in limbo. A Syr­ian ci­ti­zen liv­ing in Saudi Ara­bia, the 22-year-old is re­ly­ing on a race in New Zealand to prove he’s a world class ath­lete.

Nowhere else would give him a chance. Saudi Ara­bia bans for­eign­ers from pub­lic pools and com­pe­ti­tions and, as a fit young man, if Ma­soud re­turned to wartorn Syria he’d likely be forced to swap swim­ming for com­bat. Few coun­tries stamp visas in Syr­ian pass­ports these days; it was grit and serendip­ity that got him to Auck­land.

He’s won five out five races since land­ing in Septem­ber, and will com­pete in the NZ Short Course Cham­pi­onships this week.

Ma­soud started swim­ming as a six-year-old in Syria but strug­gled to com­peted un­til spot­ted by Kiwi coach David Wright, who says he’s ‘‘as good as any swim­mer in the world’’.

Wright has pulled strings so he could reg­is­ter with in­ter­na­tional sports body Fina by get­ting him mem­ber­ship at Water­hole Swim Club in West Auck­land, even though he lived in Jed­dah.

The next step was get­ting a New Zealand vis­i­tor visa – no easy task, he was re­jected twice – so Ma­soud could com­pete against equals.

Ma­soud is of­ten asked why he kept swim­ming.

‘‘I just love it. My hands are chained in so many ways, so when I dive into the pool it’s the only time I feel free, but I also want to be the best.’’

Eyad Ma­soud hopes to make it as an in­ter­na­tional swim­mer by com­pet­ing in New Zealand.

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