What to Watch

What to Watch with Flack Star Anna Paquin

From telepathic fairy on True Blood to teen superhero in X-Men movies and beyond, the Oscar-winning actress has a rich and varied résumé. Here, she reveals her favorite TV genre to binge and what she loves about her new series.

by | February 21, 2019 | Comments

For a star under 40, Anna Paquin is exceedingly accomplished: She won a Best Actress in a Supporting Role Oscar at 11 years old for her role in The Piano; starred in one of HBO’s biggest hit series, True Blood; and played teen superhero Rogue in four films of the blockbuster X-Men franchise.

On her latest series, Pop’s Flack, Paquin is responsible for saving celebrity reputations from turmoil, sometimes recovering their stardom from boredom or plateaued intrigue. She plays Robyn, a take-no-s— publicist for the biggest crisis-management — sorry, challenge-management — company (aka public relations firm) in England.

The lurid scandals and frenzied social media fallout Robyn deals with on Flack feel undeniably timely, but Paquin, who also executive produces the series, promises that Robyn is “absolutely not” based on her Hollywood experiences with publicists or public relations reps. Creator Oliver Lansley told reporters at the show’s Television Critics Association panel in February that Paquin’s character is actually an amalgamation of people he’s met, not just publicists.

“All of the stories came from a nugget of truth,” Langsley said of the nightmare scenarios Robyn has to manage, from Freudian slips to botched cosmetics and extramarital affairs.

Robyn and her fellow publicists regularly trade personal information for professional security, something Lansley said is quite common in the industry. Flack is all about how celebrity clients trade one scandal for another, conveniently wielding shame and sympathy to protect or regain their status.

Ahead of Flack’s premiere, Paquin shared what she admires about Robyn and hinted just how wild the show’s ride will be. But first, she tells us what shows she deems binge-worthy.


Anna Paquin headshot (courtesy Pop)
(Photo by courtesy Pop)

What’s appointment viewing for you?

Oh, I don’t have any… I don’t even know what day or time things are on, but I’m presuming it’s either when my children are going to bed or when I already would like to be asleep.


 What’s in your streaming queue?

Netflix
(Photo by Netflix)

I like documentaries. The darker the subject matter, the better. I’m a big true crime [fan].

Are you going to watch new Ted Bundy special on Netflix?

I’ve already watched it. It’s fascinating, if you’re into that genre. But I also listen to those podcasts about stuff like that so…

Like Dirty John?

Oh my god, that was great. But again, I didn’t know it was a TV show until I listened to the podcast and I was like, “Oh, I feel like there’s posters up for some, is it the same thing?” I’m a little bit in my mother bubble.


 What shows are on your DVR?

Showtime
(Photo by Showtime)

We are currently watching Escape at Dannemora… We’re up to episode five, so if you’ve seen the rest of it, don’t spoil it.


What’s coming soon that you’re excited for?

Pop
(Photo by Pop)

Flack. I’m serious. If I wasn’t in it, this would be a show I would be obsessed with. I mean, that opening scene’s pretty killer, right?


Sophie-Marie for Rotten Tomatoes: What drew you to the character of Robyn?

What’s not to love? I mean, she’s talented, smart, troubled and really good at her job — and morally ambiguous in all kinds of ways that I think are very real, raw, and authentic. And she gets some really, incredibly fun, smart, well-written dialogue. It kind of ticks all the boxes for me.

What makes her so good at a job that requires her to kind of walk a moral line, or jump right off the moral cliff, so often?

She had a really f—-d up childhood, you know? I mean, she basically raised her younger sister because their mother was mentally unwell. … You end up finding out more about that as the series goes on. But there’s also kind of a fight to survive-ness, like, “I will do whatever I need to do because I don’t have a safety net.”

She’s someone who has grown up in a household where mood stability was not a given and the ground rules changed all the time, because that’s the nature of living with someone who’s an addict or who has mental health issues. So that’s not abnormal for her. So, one sister ends up with this sort of perfect, by-the-book family life and [Robyn] ends up [being] someone who isn’t really sure who she is without the job of making other people’s illusions a reality.


Pop
(Photo by Pop)

I really love that reading of her character.

Yeah. And I would argue that what she does, she believes she’s doing for the right reasons. When she is lying to people in her private life, it’s because she doesn’t want to hurt people. She doesn’t want to be a source of pain.

It’s just that the world doesn’t really work like that. And when people find out, they’re not always happy that you protected them from the truth. Sometimes they’re absolutely irate that you thought that they couldn’t handle it or that you disrespected them in that way. And she’s kind of just keeping her head above the water, really.

Do you consider her an anti-heroine?

I guess it kind of depends how you define that. I mean, I guess? But I feel like that’s a sort of very broad term… I don’t think she’s like any other sort of woman I’ve seen on a TV show, so I’d kind of like to put her in her own little category by herself.


Pop
(Photo by Pop)

How does social media complicate her job and place the show in the current moment?

That’s actually a really interesting question because when these scripts were originally being developed, it was kind of before the social media bubble had really hit. So, one of the things we had to do in development, right before production, was go back in and do surgery on them so that the nature of the news cycle was up-to-date with what it actually is — which is “it happened three seconds ago, it’s already gone viral.”

What that does for plot is: creates a level of urgency to everything — there’s always a ticking clock. The scripts were wonderful before that was an element of it, but as far as just sort of upping the stakes, and keeping everyone’s heart racing just a little bit faster, and your audience going on the ride with you, where it is urgent now. Some of these crises are very fluffy to your average person who works really hard for a living and doesn’t have anything handed to them. It’s like, “Oh, really? You had plastic surgery and people found out? Poor you.” But to [the celebrities Robyn represents], it is the most important thing in the world.

I think that the addition of the way the internet and social media has changed the news cycle has only actually helped the show.


Anna Paquin on Flack, Pop
(Photo by Pop)

This show is pretty serious, but it’s billed as a dramedy. How would you describe Flack’s sense of humor?

Smart. Darker than dark. And delicious.

That’s true. It’s very rewarding.

Yes. It’s unapologetic. We do not color inside the lines.

That’s what makes it so…

Fun?

It’s so much fun.

One minute you’re laughing at something and you feel like, “Am I a terrible person for laughing at this?” And then there’s some sort of emotional punch that you didn’t see coming. We have a very talented writer, Oli Lansley, who created this series, and that’s all him.

The show could very easily have slipped into a procedural format —

Absolutely. It was very important to us that it not just be a procedural show. It’s fun, but its not as interesting. Getting to know the person and understand why they’re making the choices they are. There’s episodes later on where there’s some crisis happening at work, but there’s this whole other s—storm happening in her private life. The two impact each other.

[Sometimes], you end up making choices and your private life or your work life that maybe are compromised because of each other and it’s just more interesting because that’s real life.

Any good professional, you try not to bring your private life to work, but there’s some things that sometimes something’s gonna give.


Pop, Anna Paquin
(Photo by Pop)

You’ve done fantasy with True Blood, mystery with Bellevue, and now you’re in a dramedy. Do you have a favorite genre to work in?

No, I like smart material. I like good dialogue. I like interesting plot. I don’t really mind what beat, genre, context, medium it is… Talent is talent.

Do you watch your own shows?

Well, I mean, yes. I produced this, so I’ve seen every single frame of every single second that we’ve shot several hundred times. I’m not someone who, if I didn’t have a reason to, would seek out watching my own work because I don’t really enjoy staring at my face on screen.

Flack premieres Thursday, February 21 at 10 p.m. on Pop.


Tag Cloud

Comics on TV Emmys Red Carpet Super Bowl TIFF Countdown Video Games Food Network CW Seed boxoffice VH1 cults Teen Country Reality Competition Sundance Now political drama Nickelodeon hist Photos Rocky dceu Martial Arts 2015 thriller anthology PaleyFest Horror Interview Walt Disney Pictures YouTube Premium 21st Century Fox Polls and Games YouTube Red psycho Box Office Holidays harry potter ITV Calendar Extras TCA 2017 cooking Masterpiece Musicals Britbox Fall TV Music Trailer facebook Universal discovery Creative Arts Emmys 2017 Election Disney Marathons GIFs Rom-Com 20th Century Fox based on movie OWN mutant Pop Acorn TV science fiction Action ESPN doctor who Mystery diversity TLC what to watch BET The CW SDCC Toys Mindy Kaling Lucasfilm GoT Dark Horse Comics E! 24 frames ABC Family Chilling Adventures of Sabrina American Society of Cinematographers vampires Nat Geo NBC Pirates Superheroes CBS Comedy Central cinemax SundanceTV Trophy Talk Lifetime Sneak Peek ratings TV Land Ghostbusters sequel 45 007 romance DC Comics Syfy blaxploitation crime IFC crossover true crime RT History jamie lee curtis police drama First Look cats Nominations historical drama USA Network Premiere Dates zombie Adult Swim Tumblr Sundance Marvel Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Quiz E3 Showtime TCM Freeform television adventure Captain marvel Drama New York Comic Con dc MSNBC spy thriller Christmas 2019 golden globes Amazon Biopics aliens Awards Kids & Family Cartoon Network award winner green book BBC Infographic Crackle comic Western cops Starz Paramount Network WGN Year in Review adaptation Shudder TruTV medical drama crime thriller Hulu Warner Bros. Animation Star Trek PBS Schedule FOX A&E MCU Opinion Trivia Musical The Arrangement Valentine's Day Rock Netflix Reality NYCC Mary Poppins Returns MTV VICE war Mary Tyler Moore singing competition Ellie Kemper 2016 HBO Lionsgate Mary poppins Winter TV Spectrum Originals robots DirecTV LGBTQ binge Thanksgiving Superheroe Set visit El Rey TV transformers supernatural Bravo FX AMC Song of Ice and Fire composers Best and Worst Ovation Summer streaming sitcom finale Esquire San Diego Comic-Con mockumentary President CNN Grammys YA 2018 crime drama Comedy Writers Guild of America Amazon Prime TNT Anna Paquin Epix docudrama IFC Films talk show National Geographic sports Comic Book TBS GLAAD biography dramedy travel BBC America Shondaland politics justice league Pixar Spring TV serial killer miniseries FXX Sci-Fi Paramount Black Mirror Brie Larson Spike technology Awards Tour anime Fox News casting Apple spider-man Disney Channel Tomatazos comiccon zombies X-Men SXSW Podcast festivals CMT CBS All Access Watching Series Logo TCA Winners Certified Fresh History Sony Pictures Star Wars Fantasy USA DC streaming service period drama See It Skip It APB DC Universe Columbia Pictures social media unscripted ABC Oscars Character Guide DGA Cosplay