True Blood, Season 4 - Anna Paquin
Season 4 - Sookie Stackhouse (Anna Paquin) © 2011 HBO

At 11 years old, Anna Paquin became the second youngest winner of the Academy Award, which she won for Best Supporting Actress for The Piano. She went on to play in many successful movies including Almost Famous, She’s All That and the X-Men franchise.

For her role as Sookie Shackhouse, a waitress and part-faerie who can hear people’s thoughts, in the HBO series True Blue, she won the 2008 Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Television Series, Drama.

Season Four of the series finds Sookie breaking away from both of her romantic interests, vampires Bill Compton, (Stephen Moyer, whom Paquin married on August 21, 2010) and Eric Northman (Alexander Skarsgard), to be an independent woman.

Why do you think Sookie has such a stubborn nature when it comes to friends and family worrying about her? Do you think she’s grown this season?

True Blood, Season 4 - Anna Paquin
Episode 4.05 - Holly (Lauren Bowles), a new Merlotte?s waitress, and Sookie Stackhouse (Anna Paquin) © 2011 HBO

I think stubborn people get themselves in a lot of trouble, but they also get things done. And I think she’s a pretty good person to have in your corner.

She’s willing to put herself out there. Plus, if Sookie wasn’t so stubborn, our show would be hell of a less exciting, because there would be a lot less danger for her to be rescued from.

I think what’s interesting about her at the beginning of this season is that she has made the decision to be on her own and to tell both the gentlemen callers to get lost, and that she’s okay with whatever that means.

In a way that almost makes her more open to interesting things happening, because she’s operating from the position of not being as needy. So yeah, I think she’s definitely grown.

Eric and Bill have both gone through huge changes this season. Would you ever want to see Sookie change that radically, or would it do something to the spine of the show if she did?

True Blood, Season 4 - Anna Paquin
Episode 4.05 - Holly (Lauren Bowles), a new Merlotte?s waitress, and Sookie Stackhouse (Anna Paquin) © 2011 HBO

I feel like she has undergone a pretty radical change from the first time we meet her to who she is now.  In what way do you mean?

Sookie’s gotten less needy, but she’s still got the same strengths and the same kindnesses.

I think that if there were to be a good reason that was totally grounded in me and the reality of our show for her to undergo some kind of massive transformation, I would welcome the challenge of adding that to the texture of who she is.

I think that any time the character gets to do something wildly different, it’s fun, because you would have to incorporate it into who they already are. And I think as an actor that would be an interesting challenge.

I don’t think it would damage the show, but I don’t know if that’s in the cards.

Now that Stephen and you are in Season 4 of the show, have you reached a point where you give more input for your character?

I certainly feel like they write to our strengths, or maybe that’s a giant coincidence, but I don’t think I’ve ever really come in with, ‘I think this should definitely happen.’

Our show beats you to the punch as far as, ‘Wouldn’t it be really crazy if we did [this]?’ It’s not a show where you feel like there’s a lack of imagination.

What other actors do you always enjoy watching on the show?

True Blood, 4.01 - Anna Paquin and Nelsan Ellis
Episode 4.01 - Sookie Stackhouse (Anna Paquin) and Lafayette Reynolds (Nelsan Ellis) © 2011 HBO

I think everyone on our show is incredibly talented. I think Todd Lowe and Carrie Preston are outstanding actors. I think they get given such a short amount of screen time, and they do so much with it.

They get so little credit for how incredibly they are, so a big shout-out for them.

With the wardrobe that Sookie has, what do you do to stay in shape?

I work out like a crazy person. Literally, I do everything. If it’s grueling and the sort of thing where half-way through you want to die, then I do it. I enjoy a challenge.

What do you do, when you have downtime on set?

If it’s the middle of the night, I try to take a nap. If it’s the middle of the day, we usually sit around and chat.

How have you managed to sustain the success of your career?

True Blood, Season 4 - Rutina Wesley and Anna Paquin
Episode 4.05 - Tara Thornton (Rutina Wesley) and Sookie Stackhouse (Anna Paquin) © 2011 HBO

I’m just living my life. I’m incredibly disciplined and I work incredibly hard. I show up for things on time, I do my homework, and I work my ass off. I’ve had a lot of luck, but I work really, really hard.

For three seasons the whole arc of the series was your undying love for Bill, and his for you. And now every scene that you’re in together is tense. What has it been like playing that opposite each other?

Just speaking for me, our love in real life is fine. So I’m totally happy for our characters to be as sad and distraught and messed up and hating each other as they like. We can’t have everything being perfect for too long and happy for too long.

Let’s face it, it’s not interesting television if everything works out for Bill and Sookie and then they adopt five babies and live happily ever after!

Judy Sloane

Judy is Film Review Online's regular Los Angeles based reporter.