Anna Paquin Talks At The Emmy Roundtable

June 4, 2009 by  

Ray Richmond and Matthew Belloni from The Hollywood Reporter conducted an Emmy Roundtable discussion with Anna Paquin (HBO’s “True Blood”) and other Emmy actress contenders to talk about their work on film and television.  The others actresses who participated in the discussion were Rose Byrne (FX’s “Damages”), January Jones (AMC’s “Mad Men”), Regina King (NBC’s “Southland”), Mary McDonnell (Sci Fi Channel’s “Battlestar Gallactica”), and Sigourney Weaver (Lifetime’s “Prayers for Bobby”).


During the discussion Anna spoke in detail her experience working in film and television and states working on True Blood with HBO doesn’t feel much different then working on a film since they both shoot with a single camera.  Perhaps the biggest difference is with material as Anna states that with television episodes you are given new material and only have a few days to prepare to shoot the scenes.

One of the interesting aspects about Anna is that she started off as a child star winning her first Oscar at the age of 11 yet she has somehow managed to stay out of the tabloids and never fell into the negative side of show business that occurs with some child actors once they reach adulthood.  Anna credits it to a little bit of luck, staying grounded and as she says “not getting really weird-looking helps.”  She also praises her parents who wanted her to have a normal life.  As she says,  “My parents were school teachers so I could not, not get to school.”  When asked if she recalls the time when she won the Oscar in 1993 for “The Piano” she states that she does not really remember it .

When asked how others in school treated her when she was growing up Anna stated that she was “mortified” and just didn’t want to stand out from the crowd as she described herself as being shy and the attention made her feel uncomfortable.

Anna was asked if there are any frustrations in doing the show to which Anna stated that she didn’t have any and that she loves her job because she fought so hard to get it to the point of stalking Alan Ball until they gave it to her.  The reason why it was so difficult to get the part was because Sookie Stackhouse is described as a tanned, blonde “Southern hooters” waitress  and Anna coming into the audition was the complete opposite with as she described it as a “pale, pasty” brunette. She even told her manager, “please don’t send me out on this if they’re just going to say, ‘You’re not blonde,’ because it’ll break my heart.”  She mentioned that even her manager made the the suggestion that perhaps she should go in with some highlights to which Anna knew was not going to help her case.  She just had to convince Alan Ball that she was the right person for the part and to give her the opportunity which he did.  As a result Anna is so very grateful to be playing the role of Sookie Stackhouse on Alan Ball’s True Blood.

An interesting question was posed regarding the filming process and whether “do you ever ask to go back? Like, “I know we finished that scene, but I really want to do it again.” Anna responded by saying “like with the naked stuff. I’m like, “OK, OK, I’m really not watching anything else except this.”

Being a big name star there is always an upside and a downside to it, however, which has a larger impact the upside or the downside? Anna states something that should strike a chord with people who forget where to draw the line when it comes to celebrities’ privacy.  Anna explained so well by stating:

“The thing that I find really weird is that it’s the only job where large men with cameras and badges are allowed to literally chase you, in public, as a small female person. You’re wondering why actresses look sort of bunny-rabbit-eyed when people are taking their pictures. Well, if you were a block away from your house and suddenly you’re like, “Oh, there’s a photographer,” that’s weird. I find that scary. I just get intimidated.”

Which lead to the final question regarding what it is the worst story that Anna has every read about herself in the tabloids?  The answer:  the ridiculous story that she was dating her brother because attended a premiere with her.  As Anna stated  “I was 15! He was chaperoning!”

Make sure to tune in to the Season two premiere of True Blood on Sunday, June 14, 2009 at 9PM/ET on HBO.

(Photo credit: by Dan Busta via