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

disaster free movies Country Amazon binge Warner Bros. Britbox Avengers FOX blockbuster robots Disney Plus Mary Poppins Returns Creative Arts Emmys Sundance TV based on movie spanish language Spectrum Originals CMT slashers mutant Film Discovery Channel History VH1 The Walking Dead cartoon Thanksgiving Arrowverse cancelled ratings Year in Review Apple TV+ GoT war golden globes Marvel Disney Netflix Ghostbusters The Arrangement Showtime Drama Mindy Kaling Turner space Teen Elton John TCA Winter 2020 mockumentary sitcom E3 ITV MCU Pet Sematary HBO OWN singing competition National Geographic cancelled television 2019 Music Tubi A&E dc Trailer Fall TV Countdown rotten movies we love Ellie Kemper VICE X-Men Lucasfilm transformers Mary Tyler Moore Red Carpet Calendar Pirates CBS All Access Baby Yoda Summer ghosts Tumblr political drama unscripted The Purge Fantasy Reality historical drama zombie ESPN politics Certified Fresh TBS what to watch casting MTV Premiere Dates CW Seed reboot Syfy natural history DirecTV ABC Family 20th Century Fox Podcast Christmas HBO Max hist Box Office President romantic comedy Lionsgate strong female leads hispanic WGN police drama Black Mirror Rocketman name the review IFC TV Land 2020 The Witch miniseries TCM dceu LGBT Superheroe game show Extras Emmy Nominations Winners 007 YouTube Red Amazon Prime Video indie Pixar Crackle adventure facebook movies psycho Hallmark Christmas movies sports Tomatazos Starz Winter TV Heroines award winner A24 cops finale MSNBC screen actors guild Hallmark Infographic TCA Academy Awards TIFF Photos New York Comic Con Disney Channel Television Academy spy thriller psychological thriller Animation Oscars TLC Holidays cults 24 frames biography Rom-Com Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Adult Swim aliens YouTube Premium book Sci-Fi Lifetime Christmas movies Apple green book YouTube Musical toy story Captain marvel festivals AMC Horror Paramount harry potter Opinion Martial Arts social media cars 2017 Women's History Month cinemax Epix Netflix Christmas movies Dark Horse Comics Cosplay WarnerMedia werewolf elevated horror zombies joker Schedule technology serial killer Election Cannes Brie Larson BBC America Rocky 45 Kids & Family LGBTQ RT21 Mary poppins Star Wars renewed TV shows christmas movies Pop Awards Tour Bravo Marvel Television SDCC science fiction Character Guide Interview Nat Geo Anna Paquin Valentine's Day Comics on TV OneApp American Society of Cinematographers nature canceled TV shows Disney+ Disney Plus spain Action teaser 71st Emmy Awards comiccon Freeform USA Network crime thriller Classic Film richard e. Grant E! Logo Holiday dramedy TCA 2017 spider-man diversity true crime tv talk cancelled TV shows Quiz 2018 Sundance sag awards Stephen King Polls and Games docudrama YA The CW theme song Shudder Ovation RT History Chernobyl El Rey Family stand-up comedy Hulu Video Games independent DC streaming service Endgame anthology video Star Trek PBS Trophy Talk Watching Series Nominations San Diego Comic-Con kids Sundance Now game of thrones revenge TruTV 2016 Set visit Film Festival Grammys Sneak Peek TV jamie lee curtis Writers Guild of America directors ABC period drama Masterpiece canceled Disney streaming service Crunchyroll Superheroes Universal Song of Ice and Fire travel Trivia USA DC Comics Pride Month Reality Competition Marathons spinoff Rock Chilling Adventures of Sabrina zero dark thirty Awards FXX cancelled TV series discovery halloween Tarantino DC Universe Comedy cats vampires sequel thriller composers Biopics Western Turner Classic Movies APB Musicals crossover SXSW PaleyFest SundanceTV versus BET quibi Peacock Paramount Network 2015 Fox News IFC Films medical drama DGA Vudu Super Bowl Comedy Central Nickelodeon doctor who batman 21st Century Fox series CNN Food Network adaptation Cartoon Network south america BBC Binge Guide Emmys Marvel Studios anime TV renewals CBS supernatural crime drama TNT See It Skip It cooking Spike Columbia Pictures witnail Best and Worst GIFs crime Spring TV Comic Book First Reviews GLAAD streaming FX Shondaland Walt Disney Pictures Mystery Toys NBC dragons romance children's TV comic Amazon Prime Acorn TV animated breaking bad screenings blaxploitation Lifetime boxoffice justice league television Sony Pictures foreign NYCC Esquire comics Mudbound First Look latino talk show Apple TV Plus