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

Trophy Talk Heroines Pet Sematary Awards halloween tv Christmas 2017 police drama HBO Max Marvel emmy awards Martial Arts toy story Sci-Fi adaptation The Walking Dead Countdown archives Sneak Peek halloween Rocketman Photos Tubi ABC Signature Infographic asian-american revenge comiccon heist movie posters young adult blockbuster Animation dceu documentary know your critic sitcom Turner spain composers Brie Larson summer TV preview Elton John Drama Superheroes APB mcc Showtime talk show SDCC quibi Netflix Apple TV Plus SundanceTV singing competition The Academy Rom-Com 2016 stop motion hist Quiz movies DC Universe The Witch vampires Prime Video Rocky serial killer streamig Apple TV+ space USA Network cancelled TV series high school TCA 2017 comic books scene in color documentaries chucky BBC One BBC Fall TV rt archives Turner Classic Movies Avengers royal family X-Men Starz CNN die hard Oscars elevated horror spanish Fox News gangster Black Mirror dogs FX 2020 Mary Tyler Moore Winners Disney south america AMC Plus NYCC nfl harry potter RT21 cartoon saw ID blaxploitation technology Shondaland facebook Fantasy scorecard NBC Adult Swim TCA Awards cinemax classics spider-verse 24 frames Nickelodeon Trailer monster movies BBC America new star wars movies mockumentary stoner movie Star Trek adenture green book slasher french critics Crunchyroll Writers Guild of America Best Actor foreign TV 2019 children's TV NBA TCM A&E First Reviews mob Mary poppins 71st Emmy Awards HBO medical drama Mystery rt labs critics edition kong ITV Thanksgiving based on movie streaming movies Best Picture thriller worst MGM latino travel Comics on TV Character Guide Disney streaming service Fox Searchlight game of thrones OneApp all-time disaster Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt ratings Holiday period drama Schedule rotten godzilla Instagram Live Family doctor who spanish language Film Podcast biopic video on demand Travel Channel golden globe awards Extras comic book movie Epix Women's History Month Black History Month dragons Alien The Purge Superheroe 79th Golden Globes Awards Awards Tour Tags: Comedy black Binge Guide ViacomCBS Opinion Hallmark Lifetime Christmas movies IFC Films Spectrum Originals Star Wars Amazon Ovation Kids & Family 94th Oscars Valentine's Day Song of Ice and Fire war New York Comic Con Paramount First Look 1990s See It Skip It critic resources versus CW Seed sag awards spider-man The CW Apple Calendar Polls and Games book indie christmas movies Marvel Television canceled TV shows legend rt labs Baby Yoda summer TV independent name the review a nightmare on elm street 72 Emmy Awards Netflix Christmas movies Biopics Exclusive Video hispanic italian Disney Plus TV movies DGA aapi festivals wonder woman Watching Series spy thriller Vudu Marvel Studios Paramount Plus boxoffice international Reality IFC dexter supernatural renewed TV shows Musicals Chernobyl GoT Shudder kids 45 hidden camera Marathons Creative Arts Emmys Tomatazos Crackle films marvel comics fast and furious werewolf South by Southwest Film Festival cancelled Trivia richard e. Grant FOX Freeform DC streaming service E! adventure superman Bravo razzies science fiction Best Director japanese Syfy dc Television Academy Best and Worst spinoff Nat Geo psycho venice live event DC Comics Amazon Prime Video Tokyo Olympics black comedy Disney+ Disney Plus FX on Hulu sports Sundance TV strong female leads Sony Pictures MTV joker ABC Family zombie telelvision 90s women AMC romance TCA satire Grammys Hulu History Legendary Pacific Islander Emmy Nominations Wes Anderson zero dark thirty CBS feel good Image Comics American Society of Cinematographers Captain marvel Comic-Con@Home 2021 reviews hispanic heritage month GLAAD trophy Rock TV One Country miniseries CMT WGN VH1 93rd Oscars BET natural history teaser popular unscripted king arthur GIFs Teen YouTube Premium Election 4/20 Pop TV binge IMDb TV parents animated comics Comedy Central cats video Year in Review Mudbound art house Ellie Kemper television OWN blockbusters Logo cults transformers theme song MCU Tarantino Super Bowl olympics comedies El Rey LGBTQ Fargo Pride Month Hear Us Out Amazon Studios San Diego Comic-Con National Geographic 2018 Winter TV RT History TIFF vs. SXSW 2022 obi wan cancelled TV shows Television Critics Association summer preview dramedy Academy Awards suspense Chilling Adventures of Sabrina discovery LGBT Classic Film Horror robots lord of the rings TBS tv talk CBS All Access Universal cops new york Cartoon Network Neflix Anna Paquin scary movies Endgame cars aliens worst movies Music VOD biography PlayStation politics casting slashers Pixar Pop TV renewals batman Sundance 007 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards cooking MSNBC Pirates Tumblr TCA Winter 2020 Cannes ESPN romantic comedy The Arrangement mission: impossible football obituary SXSW kaiju breaking bad hollywood 2015 sopranos Masterpiece australia 20th Century Fox rom-coms YouTube debate ABC directors dark Reality Competition Spring TV golden globes anthology true crime jurassic park twilight best Red Carpet criterion DirecTV superhero screen actors guild TNT indiana jones 21st Century Fox festival Funimation A24 2021 TV Land psychological thriller prank docudrama Walt Disney Pictures FXX Paramount Network Universal Pictures HBO Go Amazon Prime Peacock WarnerMedia TLC 99% Disney Channel child's play Video Games jamie lee curtis stand-up comedy franchise YouTube Red crime drama boxing japan genre PBS Broadway zombies political drama Lifetime ghosts dreamworks Oscar Film Festival concert fresh award winner james bond social media 73rd Emmy Awards Interview PaleyFest justice league mutant HFPA cancelled television BET Awards Box Office BAFTA crossover anime live action scary Hallmark Christmas movies E3 Holidays sequel Cosplay free movies Action deadpool Columbia Pictures pirates of the caribbean nbcuniversal Ghostbusters remakes crime Esquire news Mary Poppins Returns Comedy leaderboard Lionsgate Nominations king kong Arrowverse crime thriller rotten movies we love comic Dark Horse Comics finale VICE Discovery Channel USA Emmys Food Network Musical new zealand laika diversity Acorn TV Set visit screenings Britbox action-comedy Stephen King game show comic book movies Premiere Dates TruTV Western Warner Bros. Certified Fresh nature Sundance Now marvel cinematic universe book adaptation Lucasfilm Spike Toys target Summer witnail Comic Book series reboot streaming YA trailers Mindy Kaling Best Actress historical drama Hollywood Foreign Press Association canceled docuseries universal monsters President sequels The Walt Disney Company basketball toronto what to watch