6/18/09

B.L.O.G Presents Anna Paquin

With True Blood kicking off its second season last Sunday, I thought that I take a moment to talk about the lovely star of that show. Not only is she the star of the best genre show on TV, but she’s starred in one of the better comic book franchises, won an Oscar by the time she was eleven, and appeared in one of the most anticipated “lost” horror films in the last few years. Of course, I’m talking about the one and only….

Ms. Paquin was born in Canada in 1982, but when she was four her family (including two older siblings) moved back to her mother’s homeland of New Zealand. It was there that Anna got her first break into film, and it was entirely by accident. She tagged along with her sister to an open audition for a film because she had nothing better to do. Her only experience with acting to this point had been as a skunk in a school play, but Jane Campion was very impressed by the nine year old’s delivery of a very emotional monolog and signed her to play the part of Holly Hunter’s daughter in The Piano. Her performance was so stirring that it earned her a Best Supporting Actress Oscar making her the second youngest woman to ever receive the honor (damn you Tatum O’Neal).

This opened many doors for Anna, but even at a young age she was quite choosy over which material she would take on. Three years later she took a role in Jayne Eyre, and then small roles in Spielberg’s Amistad and the Sean Penn vehicle Hurlyburly. She made her first big impact on a teen audience when she appeared in She’s All That (1999). The cast of that film reads like a who’s who of young Hollywood at the time, and Anna’s performance as Mackenzie Siler is one of the highlights of the rather rote teen cinema affair. Yet it was that film which allowed Paquin to land the role in one of the biggest comic book films put to screen.

With both Sarah Michelle Geller and Natalie Portman considered for the role, it’s a wonder that Anna landed the part of Rogue in Brian Singer’s X-Men. While her part as the power sucking mutant differed greatly from the rough and tumble Rogue seen in the comic books, fans readily accepted the new Rogue which mixed many parts from another comic character, Kitty Pryde (who later came to the screen in X3 via Ellen Page.) The X-Men films revolved partially around her character and the other teenage mutants. As the series went on her role became larger and larger until she was one of the main driving forces in X3 (which was directed by Brian Singer). My only criticism of her portrayal stems from the relationship between, Rogue and Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine. There are quite a few moments between the two of them that almost borders on uncomfortable, but overall Anna was one of the shining moments of all three of the films.

Now we come to a film that I have not seen. In fact, not many people have gotten a chance to see it. As I like to say, it got Mandy Laned. Written and directed by Michael Dougherty (the scribe behind X2 and Superman Returns), Trick R Treat is a horror anthology starring Anna Paquin in the role of a virginal college student who has a run in with a slasher at a Halloween festival. Oh, and she’s dressed like Little Red Riding Hood. Now for my money that’s enough to get my butt in a seat, but for some reason this one’s been held up by Warner Brothers for some time now. It seems now (from some reports) that it will finally see the light of day on DVD later this year. I’ve heard nothing but good things about this film, but as usual, the studios would rather churn out remakes of ‘70’s horror or J-horror than take a chance on releasing something that might be a bit different. As a fan of Anna and horror anthologies, I just hope that it does actually get released so we can all check it out.

Now that brings up to date and to the series that made me begin to really love Anna Paquin. That’s right, I loves me some True Blood, and Anna’s Sookie Stackhouse is the heart and soul of the series. The series was brought to HBO by Allen Ball, the creator of Six Feet Under, and based on the series of southern Vampire books by Charlaine Harris. For anyone who’s been living under a rock (or in a coffin) for the past year here’s the basics of True Blood. Vampires are real. They want equal rights. Some vamps are good, and some are bad. Sookie Stackhouse is a waitress in a small Louisiana town of Bon Temps, and then she meets vampire Bill Compton. Sparks fly and people die, and all of that happens in the first episode.

Needless to say, True Blood is one of my favorite shows on TV these days. While Twilight might be “re-imagining” the vampire for troubled teens, True Blood remembers its mythical roots and expands on it without having a Lestat or a Cullen in sight. At the heart of all the bloodletting and vampires is Paquin’s Sookie. Now, at first, it was all I could do not to make jokes like “Sookie, Sookie, me love you long time.”, but that would be crass (and we know I am anything but). Paquin’s performance as the vampire smitten, mind reading, bar tending Sookie is at once a powerful character and deeply endearing. While the show is filled with tons of great characters, there‘s good reason that Paquin is the main character of the ensemble cast.

The first season of True Blood delivered the most entertainment I’d gotten from HBO since they went and canned Deadwood, and I was thrilled when it got picked up for another season. The first episode of season 2 started last week, and the action picked up right where Season 1 left off. Once more I was thoroughly involved in the story, and ready to see what would happen in Bon Temps this year. Even if Anna never makes another genre film, her turn as Sookie Stackhouse has cemented her place in genre history, and to me that’s what makes a B.L.O.G.

I hope you folks enjoyed this week’s departure from the norm. Next week the Ladies of the Lair will be back with Ladies night, and then I have something kind of different in store for you starting next month. So I’ll see you back here in two weeks, and I’ll be back tomorrow with another flick from John Woo.




5 comments:

  1. terrific post!

    i kind of slept on True Blood but my girlfriend is all about it. i've been slowly catching up on season 1 and am looking forward to season 2. HBO kinda burned me when they cancelled Deadwood but they seem to have hit their stride again with True Blood.

    and i can't wait for Trick R Treat. hope it's worth all the wait.

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  2. the sneering (homo-phobic) snobJune 18, 2009 at 7:06 PM

    i cant beleive she`s 27, i will never be able to imagine her being any more than 17.

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  3. Anna Paquin went to the same tiny private high school that I did (although not at the same time). That's my cool personal fact.

    You forgot the mention the excellent Fly Away Home, which had a great Paquin performance.

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  4. weic? thanks for the comment. It took a bit for True Blood to grow on me, but thankfully my wife (who also hooked me on that other vamp series, Buffy) kept on me and I ended up living it.

    Snob, as usual thanks for taking your comment right up to the line of decency, but not over it.

    Ryan, cool that y'all share an alma mater, my brush with greatness is that I got me and my friends got out ass whooped on a neighborhood basketball court by Kevin Garnett and his buddies. As fast as Fly Away Home, I've never seen it, but if Ms. Anna is good in it I may have ot check it out.

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  5. Fly Away Home is a wonderful overlooked gem from the director of Never Cry Wolf; the story sounds like Disney sap, but it's actually a very powerful film.

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