"Everything about being a teenager and not feeling like you fit in is just magnified by being a mutant!" Anna Paquin
Oscar winning actress Anna Paquin garnered critical acclaim while portraying Flora McGrath, Holly Hunter's angry young daughter, in Jane Campion's applauded film The Piano (1993). One of the youngest Oscar winners ever (she was 11 at that time), Paquin later starred in such films as Jane Eyre (1996), Fly Away Home (1996), Amistad (1997), A Walk on the Moon (1999) and Almost Famous (2000). This Canadian actress is also widely recognized for playing genetic mutant Rogue in the blockbuster X-Men films. Recently, she provided her voice for the animated film Steamboy (2004) and acted in the 2005 big screen The Squid and the Whale.
5' 5" tall Anna Paquin was listed as one of Teen People Magazine's "25 Hottest Stars under 25" in 2002. She is currently busy filming the third sequel to X-Men and will star in the upcoming film Margaret.
On stage, Paquin gained praise for performing in the off-Broadway production of "The Distance From Here."
Fly Away Home
Childhood and Family:
In Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, Anna Helene Paquin was born on July 24, 1982, to Canadian father Brian (a physical education teacher; born in 1952) and New Zealand-born mother Mary (English teacher). The youngest child of the family, Anna has two older siblings, brother Andrew (born in 1977; attended Harvard) and sister Katya (born in 1980; represented New Zealand in The World Debate Championship and won). 4-year-old Anna moved with her family to New Zealand, but regularly visited Canada to see relatives. While filming Fly Away Home (1996) in Canada, her parents divorced. Afterward Anna, her mother, and sister moved to Los Angeles.
"I'm there to learn things. I think it's important to have life experiences that have nothing to do with what you do as an actor, because that's such a weird world to grow up in." Anna Paquin (on education).
Anna attended the Windward School in West Los Angeles, California, and fulfilled the school's society service obligation by working in an LA soup kitchen and at a special education center. She graduated in June 2000 and enrolled at Columbia University in August 2000. One year later, Anna put her studies on hold due to her hectic filming schedule.
Off screen, Anna is a fan of the Beatles and the alternative rock band Nine Inch Nails. During her free time, she enjoys photography, rugby, running, gymnastics, swimming, downhill skiing, reading, singing, playing the piano, playing the cello, and knitting. Anna, who keeps her Oscar in her bedroom closet, loves to watch Dawson's Creek (her favorite character is Pacey) and still hasn't seen all of The Piano. Vegetarian Anna owns three pets, two cats and one dog. In edition to English, Anna speaks French. She lives in New York City.
"I just do what feels right. I think the great thing about getting to do what I do is that you can try out being a different person without having to screw up your life to do it." Anna Paquin
Initially having the goal of becoming the Prime Minister of New Zealand, or a lawyer, Anna Paquin turned her interest to acting and had her first acting performance as a skunk in a school ballet. In the early 1990s, Paquin's sister read a newspaper ad about an open audition for a little girl to play a key role in an upcoming movie titled The Piano. Having nothing better to do, Paquin attending the audition. Luckily, the director fell in love with Anna's performance and she beat out 5,000 girls to nab the coveted role.
"I almost fell off my chair when she began. She told this long, incredible passionate story about how Ada lost her voice, and you totally believed her. It is rare to find someone so young with such an instinct for performance." The Piano director Jane Campion on Anna Paquin's audition.
Anna starred as Flora McGrath, an angry young daughter of a mute mother (played by Holly Hunter), living in New Zealand, in screenwriter-director Jane Campion's controversially erotic film The Piano (1993). She had the most dialogue in the film as her mute mother's interpreter and her brilliant performance received rave reviews. In the prestigious 66th Annual Academy Awards (1994), she won the Best Supporting Actress category. 11-year-old Paquin became the second-youngest person to win an Academy Award (after Tatum O'Neal) and is the first New Zealander to receive an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress.
Three years later, Paquin portrayed Young Jane, an orphaned girl who endured a miserable childhood, in Franco Zeffirelli's remake of Charlotte Bronte's classic novel of the Gothic romance, Jane Eyre (1996, with William Hurt and Charlotte Gainsbourg). In that same year, she played Jeff Daniels' daughter and foster mother to a flock of geese in Carroll Ballard's adaptation of Bill Lishman's autobiography, the heartwarming, stunningly photographed family drama Fly Away Home.
The screen version of Carson McCullers' novel, The Member of the Wedding (1997), was Paquin's debut appearance in a TV movie. Anna also had a cameo appearance as Queen Isabella in Steven Spielberg's classic film about an 1839 mutiny on board a slave ship, Amistad (1997, starring Morgan Freeman, Nigel Hawthorne and Anthony Hopkins).
Along with Kevin Spacey and Sean Penn, Paquin costarred as a teen vamp in Anthony Drazan film, adopted from David Rabe's well-known play, Hurlyburly (1998). In the late 1990s, Paquin became Diane Lane's rebellious teenage daughter in Tony Goldwyn's melodrama, set during the summer of 1969, A Walk on the Moon, and played Freddie Prinze Jr.'s younger sister in Robert Iscove's frothy teen comedy She's All That (both in 1999). She also played aggressive street kid Annabel Lee in James D. Stern's star-studded ensemble drama All the Rage (also in 1999, with Joan Allen and Jeff Daniels), which premiered at the Toronto Film Festival.
Another memorable role arrived in the new millennium. Filmmaker Bryan Singer handed Anna the role of Rogue, a young runaway mutant who can suck the life from any being, in his futuristic action thriller based on the long-running Marvel comic book series, X-Men. In the movie, she shared the screen with actors Hugh Jackman, Ian McKellen, James Marsden and Halle Berry, and subsequently reprised her role in its 2003 installment, X2: X-Men United.
Moviegoers could also watch Anna play soulful groupie Polexia Aphrodesia in Cameron Crowe's musical comedy Almost Famous (2000, starring Billy Crudup and Kate Hudson) and portray Robert Brown's best friend in Gus Van Sant's drama Finding Forrester (2000, also starring Sean Connery). She followed it up with the role of Robyn Lee, Joaquin Phoenix's love interest and Scott Glenn's rebellious daughter, in Gregor Jordan's film based on Robert O'Connor's book, Buffalo Soldiers (2001).
2002 saw Paquin starring as Regina, a teenage girl who moves into a remote, gloomy countryside house with her family, in Jaume Balaguer's suspense horror Darkness, and appear in Spike Lee's adaptation of David Benioff's novel, the crime drama 25th Hour (starring Edward Norton).
Audience could also hear Anna's voice as James Ray Steam in Katsuhiro Ôtomo's animated Steamboy (2004) and watch her appearing in Noah Baumbach's true-life based film, The Squid and the Whale (2005, starring Jeff Daniels and Laura Linney). As for the X-Men fans, Paquin will soon return to play Rogue in its upcoming sequel, X-Men 3, which is slated for 2006 release. She is also set to play the key role of a young woman who witnesses a bus accident in Kenneth Lonergan's Margaret, alongside Matt Damon.
In theater, Paquin, who made her London stage debut in "This Is Our Youth," has performed in "The Glory of Livin" and "Roulette." In May 2004, she starred in Neil LaBute's Off-Broadway play, "The Distance from Here," and received a Drama Desk Award nomination for Outstanding Ensemble Performance. More recent, in February 2005, she starred in the Off-Broadway production of "After Ashley."
"None of the characters I've played are really like me. That would be boring. It wouldn't be acting." Anna Paquin.
- Academy Awards: Best Supporting Actress, The Piano, 1994
- Los Angeles Film Critics Association: Best Supporting Actress, The Piano, 1994
- Film Critics Circle of Australia: Best Supporting Actress, The Piano, 1993