With a roomy three-and-a-half hours to play with, you’d expected basically every major character in Martin Scorsese’s new crime drama “The Irishman” to have at least some airtime and choice moments to deliver some key dialogue.
Turns out that’s not the case with “X-Men” and “True Blood” star Anna Paquin who is one of the film’s major female characters as the adult version of Peggy Sheeran, the daughter of Robert De Niro’s soldier turned mob hitman character Frank Sheeran. Lucy Gallina plays the same character in her childhood years.
Paquin is reportedly completely silent in her scenes bar a single line of dialogue. That doesn’t mean it’s not an essential performance. On the contrary Scorsese explained to filmmaker Spike Lee on The Director’s Cut podcast (via The Playlist) why he chose to have her remain near-silent and how Paquin was essential for the part because of her skill at non-verbal communication in her scenes:
“I kept asking [writer] Steve Zaillian if we can layer her in the story. I decided that she doesn’t have to say anything. You see your father do something like that, I’m sorry… You see him crush the guy’s hand like that… other kids maybe, but this kid couldn’t take it. She looks at him. She knows he’s up to something and Lucy [Gallina] was great, but Anna ultimately was amazing in the looks. She has one line in the film. There’s something you can’t talk about. She knows it. She knows who she is. He knows she knows. Even when she’s sitting there and the police are talking about Joey Gallo being [murdered.] [The anchor said], ‘A lone gunman walked in..’ and you see she’s looking at him.”
Drawing critical raves across the board, the film has been noted for consisting almost entirely of male characters. “The Irishman” arrives in select theaters on November 1st and Netflix on November 27th.