Robert De Niro defends Anna Paquin's controversial 7-word role in 'The Irishman'

Robert De Niro defends Anna Paquin's controversial 7-word role in 'The Irishman'

Robert De Niro has come forward to defend Martin Scorsese's choice to only give actress Anna Paquin seven words in the new gangster movie The Irishman.

In the flick, Paquin plays the adult incarnation of De Niro's character's daughter, Peggy Sheeran. Peggy, once a daddy's girl, becomes gradually disillusioned with her father as she grows older and more mature and gains an awareness of the heinous nature of his criminal lifestyle.

Take a look at the trailer for The Irishman below: 

The character is mostly silent and cold, judging her father with looks of betrayal and aghast horror. She only speaks as an adult once, when she demands to know whether or not her parent killed Al Pacino's character, Jimmy Hoffa.

"Why? Why? Why haven't you called Jo?"

But the choice to limit Paquin's lines to just seven words has been labeled problematic by some critics and viewers, as many took to Twitter to dispute the movie choice:

However, in an interview with USA Today, De Niro responded to critics by claiming that Paquin's mostly-silent performance was an integral part of the movie. De Niro stated: "She was very powerful and that’s what it was. Maybe in other scenes, there could’ve been some interaction between Frank and her possibly, but that’s how it was done. She’s terrific and it resonates."

An image of Anna Paquin. Credit: PA Images

Meanwhile, Paquin herself has come forward to dispell rumors that she was forced to appear in the movie under the terms of contractual obligation.

Twitter-user Shasha Stone wrote: "The idea that Scorsese ordered Anna Paquin to be in his movie is hilarious. Guys, I hate to break it to you but it doesn't work that way. Here is how it works: 'here is a part in the new Scorsese movie that's pretty important but there's not a lot of----' 'I'LL TAKE IT!.' [sic]"

Taking to Twitter, the former X-Men actress agreed with Stone's tweet when she replied: "Nope, nobody was doing any 'ordering.' I auditioned for the privilege of joining the incredible cast of .@TheIrishmanFilm and I’m incredibly proud to get to be a part of this film. [sic]"