Anna Paquin (born July 24, 1982) is an Academy Award and Golden
Globe-winning, Emmy-nominated, Canadian-born New Zealand actress. Her
breakthrough performance was in the New Zealand film The Piano, which earned
her an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress in 1994. This made her the
second youngest winner in history at the age of 11. She is also the first
Canadian-born actress to win Best Supporting Actress.
Anna was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, the daughter of Mary Anna (née Brophy), an English teacher and native of Wellington, New Zealand, and Brian Paquin, a high school physical education teacher. Anna has two older siblings: brother Andrew, born in 1977, and sister Katya, born in 1980. Anna 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, Anna attended Hutt Intermediate School from 1994–1995, where she completed Form 1 and 2. Having begun her secondary education in Wellington, New Zealand, 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 Anna 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; Anna 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.
Anna as Flora, telling the story about her father in The PianoThe Piano was made as a small independent movie and wasn't intended to be widely known, and Anna 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 and She's All That.
Anna returned to worldwide prominence with her role as Rogue in the blockbuster X-Men movie in 2000, its sequel X2: X-Men United in 2003, and its third installment X-Men: The Last Stand in 2006.
In the summer of 2006, she completed filming Blue State. She executive-produced the film, the film having been made by Anna Films, a production company formed by both her and her brother, Andrew Paquin. In November 2006, she completed Margaret. This film is now scheduled for release in 2009, according to imdb.com.
In 2007, Anna received an Emmy Award nomination for Supporting Actress In A Miniseries Or A Movie for her role as Elaine Goodale in the 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, Anna 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. Anna 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 a 2009 Saturn Award for Best Actress in Television. A second season of the show is currently in production, and is scheduled to air in June 2009.
In 2009, Anna 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.
Anna 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, England in a production of This is Our Youth in 2002.
Anna has reportedly been romantically linked with actors Logan Marshall-Green and Kieran Culkin. She has been dating her True Blood co-star Stephen Moyer since filming the series' pilot.
Anna lives in Venice, Los Angeles, California. Her hobbies include surfing and cycling.
This Anna Paquin Biography Page is Copyright © 2004 - 2009 Chuck Ayoub