Anna Helene Paquin (pronounced
/ˈpækwɪn/; born July 24, 1982) is a New Zealand actress. Paquin's first
critically successful film was The Piano, for which she won the Academy
Award for Best Supporting Actress in 1994 at the age of 11 - the second
youngest winner in history. Her acting career took off almost half a
decade later when she appeared in a string of successful films including
She's All That, Almost Famous and the X-Men franchise, in which she plays
Rogue, the role she is most widely known for.
More recently, Paquin has gained critical acclaim for her role as Sookie
Stackhouse in the HBO series True Blood. She was honoured with the Golden
Globe Award for Best Actress – Television Series Drama for her role in
Paquin was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, the daughter of Mary Paquin
(née Brophy), an English teacher and native of Wellington, New Zealand,
and Brian Paquin, a high school physical education teacher. Paquin is the
youngest of three children; she has two older siblings: brother Andrew,
born in 1977, and sister Katya, born in 1980. Paquin moved to New Zealand
when she was four. She attended the Raphael House Rudolf Steiner School
until she was eight or nine. Her musical childhood hobbies in New Zealand
included playing the viola, cello and piano. She also did gymnastics,
ballet, swimming and downhill skiing, though she did not have any hobbies
related to acting.
While in New Zealand, Paquin attended Hutt Intermediate School from
1994-95. Having begun her secondary education in Wellington at Wellington
Girls' College, she completed her high school diploma at Windward School
in Los Angeles, where she moved with her mother following her parents'
divorce in 1995. She graduated from Windward School in June 2000 and
completed the school's community service requirement by working in an LA
soup kitchen and at a special education center. She studied at Columbia
University for one year, but has since been on a leave of absence to
continue her acting career.
It was in New Zealand in 1991 that Paquin became an actress by chance.
Director Jane Campion was looking for a little girl to play a key role in
The Piano, set to film in New Zealand, and a newspaper advertisement was
run announcing an open audition. Paquin's sister read the ad and went to
try out with a friend; Paquin herself tagged along because she had nothing
better to do. When Campion met Paquin—whose only acting experience had
been as a skunk in a school play—she was very impressed with the
nine-year-old's performance of the monologue about Flora's father, and she
was chosen from among the 5000 candidates.
When The Piano was released in 1993 it was lauded by critics, won prizes
at a number of film festivals, and eventually became a popular movie among
a wide audience. Paquin's debut performance in the film earned her an
Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress at the age of eleven, making her
the second-youngest Oscar winner in history after Tatum O'Neal. The Piano
was made as a small independent movie and wasn't intended to be widely
known, and Paquin and her family didn't plan to continue in the acting
circles. However, she was invited to the William Morris Agency, and she
kept receiving offers for new roles. She systematically refused them, but
she did appear in three commercials for the phone company MCI (now
Verizon). She also appeared as a voice in an audio book entitled The
Magnificent Nose in 1994.
In 1996, she appeared in two movies. The first role was as young Jane in
Jane Eyre. The other was a lead part in Fly Away Home playing a young girl
who, after her mother dies, moves in with her father and finds solace in
taking care of orphaned goslings.
As a teenager, she had roles in films including A Walk on the Moon, The
Member of the Wedding, Amistad, Hurlyburly, She's All That and Almost
Paquin returned to worldwide prominence with her role as Rogue in the
blockbuster X-Men movie in 2000, its sequel X2 in 2003, and its third
installment X-Men: The Last Stand in 2006.
In the summer of 2006, she completed filming Blue State. She was the
executive-producer of the film, the film having been made by Paquin Films,
a production company formed by both her and her brother, Andrew Paquin. In
November 2006, she completed Margaret. This film has yet to be released.
Its release is unknown, due to ongoing legal disputes.
In 2007, Paquin received an Emmy Award nomination for Supporting Actress
In A Miniseries Or A Movie for her role as Elaine Goodale in HBO's
made-for-TV movie Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee, based on Dee Brown's
bestseller. She also received Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild Award
nominations in similar categories.
In 2008, Paquin appeared as Sookie Stackhouse in the HBO series True
Blood, her first role in a TV series. The show is based on The Southern
Vampire Mysteries series of novels by Charlaine Harris. Paquin won a
Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Television Drama Series for her role in
the show, and also won a Satellite Award in a similar category. She has
also been nominated for the same category in the 2010 Golden Globe Awards.
The second season of True Blood premiered in the US in June 2009. Season
three will premiere in the summer of 2010.
In 2009, Paquin played Irena Sendler, a Polish woman hailed as a heroine
of the Holocaust, in The Courageous Heart of Irena Sendler, a CBS TV film
biopic based on the book Mother of the Children of the Holocaust: The
Irena Sendler Story, by Anna Mieszkowska. The film was made in Latvia, and
was a Hallmark Hall of Fame presentation for the network. Paquin's
performance earned her a 2010 nomination for the Golden Globe Award for
Best Actress in a Television Film.
Paquin's next film is The Romantics, a romantic comedy alongside Josh
Duhamel and Katie Holmes. The film is slated for a 2010 release.
Paquin is also an award-winning stage actress, having made her stage debut
in 2001 in a production of The Glory of Living at the MCC Theater. She won
a 2001–2002 Theater World Award for her performance. She has since
appeared in a number of other plays, but has only once appeared in a play
outside of the USA, when she appeared on the West End stage in London in a
production of This is Our Youth in 2002.
On August 5, 2009, it was announced that Anna Paquin had become engaged to
her True Blood co-star Stephen Moyer, whom she had been dating since
filming the series' pilot in 2007. Paquin lives in Venice, Los Angeles,
California. Her hobbies include surfing and cycling.