Anna Paquin might just be her own worst critic. “I really don’t watch anything I’m in, because it just makes me feel uncomfortable,” the Oscar-winning actress star told Yahoo Movies recently, while discussing her latest movie, The Good Dinosaur. It was a few days before the movie’s premiere, and she still hadn’t been able to bring herself to watch the Pixar animated film, which opens Nov. 20. "I’m hoping by the premiere I’ll be able to see it again and watch the movie — as opposed to being like, ‘Seriously?! Oh my god!’”
In The Good Dinosaur, Paquin plays a spirited T-Rex named Ramsey, who becomes pals with the film’s titular character, a young Apatosaurus named Arlo. She praises animators for making Ramsey look so “awesome,” calling her character “more cowgirl, and less southern belle.” That makes her a far cry from one of Paquin’s most recent (and perhaps best-known) characters: Sookie Stackhouse, the vampire-loving True Blood fairy that earned Paquin a Golden Globe. That’s just one of the 33-year-old’s onscreen achievements in a career that’s been both dense and diverse, including period films (1996’s Jane Eyre), superhero flicks (the X-Men series), acclaimed indies (2011’s Margaret) and, of course, the stark 1993 drama The Piano, which earned Paquin an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress.
Still, don’t expect to find Paquin rewatching her greatest hits any time soon. “I like keeping the memory of what it was like to do [the movie],” she says, “and not [think], 'I don’t really like what I did there.’"That is part of the reason why she wasn’t terribly hurt when her X-Men character Rogue was cut from the 2014 sequel Days of Future Past. ”[While filming], I got to hang out with my friends for five days in Montreal, and see people I’ve known for two decades and go play,“ she says. "Did it end up in the movie? No. Well, it was fun anyway.”
Anna Paquin as Rogue in the 'X-Men’ series
Just arranging her short stint on the X-Men set was a near-impossible exercise. “Trying to [adjust my] schedule in True Blood was like trying to milk a stone,” she says. “It was just kind of a scheduling disaster.” Paquin says she had “no expectation in the first place” because, as she noted, other X-Men movies she’s worked on rarely reflect the original script. “There are so many moving parts, you’re jumping back and forth between timelines and stories and this and that. I can barely keep up with it! No one wants to be in the bathroom-break plotline!”
When it comes to the fan backlash over her excised role, she says she’s “very flattered that some people felt like they wanted to go to war on my behalf.” But Paquin is also quick support the director’s call. “Bryan Singer is a filmmaker. He’s not a music video director. He’s a talented visionary, and that’s why you have someone like that making those movies. If [my part] doesn’t actually fit into the final film — he’s not going to screw the movie because he’s going to hurt somebody’s feelings. We’re all big kids.”
In fact, Paquin, now married for almost five years to her True Blood co-star Stephen Moyer and the mother of two, is more than a big kid — she’s a full-fledged adult. When asked if she’ll ever play Rogue again in a future X-Men installment she says with a laugh, “I don’t know. I shot that when I was 16. I’m 33. If they’ve moved on as far as actors and casting choices and stories that they’re fascinated by, [it’s okay]. That was a lifetime ago for me.”
(Photos: Jesse Grant/Getty Images for Disney, 20th Century Fox)