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Robert De Niro defends Anna Paquin's role in 'The Irishman'

Actress speaks only 7 words in film

(CNN) - Anna Paquin has an important role in "The Irishman," but you couldn't tell it by her lines.

The actress speaks just seven words in the three and a half hour long Netflix film directed by Martin Scorsese.

The Oscar-winning actress plays Peggy Sheeran, the adult daughter of mafia hitman Frank Sheeran portrayed by Robert De Niro.

In the film Peggy is shown growing up and becoming close to her father's friend, union leader Jimmy Hoffa, played by Al Pacino.

So she has questions when Hoffa goes missing and her father reveals that he has not yet reached out to Hoffa's wife.

"Why?" Peggy asks Frank to which he responds "Wha?"

"Why?" she asks again

"Why what?" Frank says.

"Why haven't you called Jo?," she asks.

And that's all the dialogue the former "True Blood" stars gets, which has stirred debate between those who think her silence in other scenes speaks volumes and viewers who complain she was underused.

De Niro praised Paquin's role in an interview with USA Today.

"She was very powerful and that's what it was," he said. "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."

Last month Paquin addressed rumors she was forced to appear in the film with a tweet from her official account.

"Nope, nobody was doing any 'ordering,'" she tweeted. "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."


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