Above: Director Marshall Lewy with Anna Paquin
and Breckin Meyer on the set of Blue
When you win an Oscar at age 11, itís easy to think
that you've reached the peak of your career. But
Anna Paquin begs to differ. Having stunned the world
with her Best Supporting Actress Award back in 1993
for The Piano, Paquin now credits her
the New York theatre scene as one of her biggest
accomplishments. And although she appreciates her
Oscar win, she feels that if she wins one again in the
future, it will mean so much more. After all, according
to Paquin, she was just ďreactingĒ off of her
Piano co-star, Holly Hunter, who won the Best
These days, Paquin is very much in control of her
destiny. She shuns the party scene that befalls many
young actresses, works steadily at earning much-
deserved respect in her theatre performances and
chooses film roles that appeal to her nature, rather
than having a big paycheck. That isnít to say Paquin
doesnít take big studio films (just look at her role as
Rogue in the X-men trilogy) but rather she
follow her instinct and go after edgier, more creative
roles. And as it is in the film industry, most of those
films are independently made, making her a
true ďIndie Darling.Ē But even with her acting
presence firmly established on the Indie scene,
Paquin is now moving onto her next phase in life:
Paquin and her brother Andrew, have recently
formed ďPaquin FilmsĒ and their first project, Blue
State, is a quirky independent romantic-comedy
about a disgruntled
Democrat who has to live up to his promise that he
will relocate to Canada if George W. Bush gets
reelected. The film was shot in Paquinís hometown of
Winnipeg, Manitoba and stars herself and Breckin
I recently got a the opportunity to talk with Paquin
love of acting in Indie films and her experience as a
first-time film producer.
IFA: I notice that you tend to do a lot of
What makes you gravitate towards those types of
Paquin: For starters, I have a great
fondness for independent
films. But Iím actress though, so to a large degree,
you go to where the work is interesting, where there
are interesting parts. Itís not like I donít do or donít
choose to do big films for any particular reason, itís
just that youíre allowed to do things that are more
creatively-driven if they are independently produced.
You donít have as many people telling you what you
have to do, or what you canít do, so the material
tends to be a little more interesting and a little
grittier. It doesnít have to appeal to such a wide
audience because there is not so much need to make
an enormous amount of money. You can really make
art for artís sake, as opposed to art as commercial
enterprise, which has its value too, but there are
obviously limitations. I just love working with
interesting, creative and talented people who are
being allowed to really do their job.
IFA: Would you say itís almost like you can
get away with a lot
Paquin: Well, yeah on a bigger film, you may
amazing, talented director who has 23 executives
breathing down his neck - not really being able to
make the film he or she wants to make. It obviously
doesnít happen all the time, but it does happen. Itís
nice for the director to really be in charge.
IFA: So what made you want to do Blue
your first production?
Paquin: The material was really interesting
to me for various
reasons. I think itís really smart, I think itís really
funny but also sweet and moving and it sort of
pokes fun at this whole kind of political mess thatís
come upon us in the last however many years. And it
handles it in a really interesting way. It
doesnít beat anyone over the head with any
particular message, per say. Itís just an interesting
way of looking at that particular topic.
IFA: Do you feel that this film might cause a
controversy, considering the subject matter?
Paquin: You know, controversy happens
around films that
remain completely uncontroversial. Iíve been involved
in certain films that people have gotten all hot and
bothered about and really I just think they kind of
missed the point. You know, that wasnít what was
being said with the film, that wasnít the intention,
you know, just reading a little more into something
that really isnít there. But, you know if people are
buzzing and talking about your movie, thatís never a
IFA: What was it like working with your
Paquin: My brother is awesome. I mean, he
intelligent and creatively inclined and good on the
business end as well, because the finance world is
his background. Heís just awesome, I canít imagine a
more ideal person to work with.
IFA: What made you want to start
up ďPaquin Films?Ē
Paquin: You know, Iíve been acting for 15
years, itís time to
branch out a bit.
IFA: Would you like to direct one day?
Paquin: Yes. Not now though.
IFA: What types of films and projects do
Paquin Films will be interested in producing?
Paquin: I think we would want to start with
material, and actors, directors and other creative
people and just telling stories that we find
IFA: You arenít going to just stick to one
Paquin: Absolutely not. I think that diversity
is way more fun
and way more challenging. Itís not fun to do the
same thing over and over again.
IFA: What do you find the most challenging
being on the production side was?
Paquin: (Laughs) Actually, seeing some of
the editing stuff was hard.
Something about your own objective and about
your own face. You have to concentrate on the finer
points of editing, but itís your face and your
performance. Itís almost like I had to be forcibly
restrained so I wouldnít sit in my seat with my hands
covering my eyes. It happens to be a very Goddamn
interesting experience. But you know, itís probably
pretty good for me.
IFA: What was the most enjoyable part of
behind the camera?
Paquin: Knowing what was going on all of
the time. I feel like
people try and keep actors in the dark for some
reason, like they think we are either really emotional
or really stupid or something and wouldnít handle it
well if they were told what was really going on. Itís
just really nice being involved in all the decisions.
Casting is fun, in a really long, abstract, tedious kind
of way, but ultimately fun. You know, figuring who
you want to work with in various types of
departments. I mean, all of those decisions are
really, really important. There is not one single crew
member on a film that is not really important. It all
matters and it was really nice being a part of the
IFA: What was it like shooting in Winnipeg?
Paquin: It was so great. Everybody was so
welcoming and supportive. I think we got more than
a couple of favours from everyone. Just lots of open
doors and arms and all kinds of graciousness.
Everyone that we encountered has made things so
easy and the crew that we hired were all locals.
They were amazing.
IFA: Do you consider yourself more of a
New Zealander or American?
Paquin: You know, the closest I can come
up with is that I
am a New Yorker. Which is anything and nothing;
there are so many people who live here that are not
from here. Iíve lived in New York now for almost
seven years and this is the place that feels most like
a home to me.
Whatever nationality Paquin considers herself, one
thing is for sure: we havenít seen anything yet. With
her unlimited talent, her winning personality
(not to mention stunning good looks) and her
willingness to challenge herself, winning another
Oscar looks like it will be another one of her