Social media took "The Irishman" and its director Martin Scorsese to task over actress Anna Paquin's very limited lines in the hit Netflix film.
The outcry became so great that even co-star Robert De Niro — also a producer on the project — felt compelled to defend Paquin's limited lines.
What are the details?
Paquin, who portrays Peggy Sheeran — adult daughter of mafia hitman Frank Sheeran — says just seven words in the three-plus hour film.
During the movie, Paquin's character develops a friendship with Frank's friend — union leader Jimmy Hoffa. Frank is portrayed by De Niro, and Hoffa is portrayed by Al Pacino.
Later during the film, Paquin's character asks De Niro's character about Hoffa's disappearance, and asks why De Niro's character hasn't reached out to Hoffa's wife, as they were friends.
"Why?" Paquin's character rather gravely and knowingly asks De Niro's character. "Why? Why haven't you called Jo?"
Paquin, though she appears throughout the film, says those words — her first and only lines in the film — nearly three hours into the movie.
Social media voiced outrage over Paquin's limited — but compelling — lines, and accused the production of perpetuating sexism, insisting that Paquin's character could have been further developed.
W magazine even joined the internet discussion, publishing an article titled "Was Anna Paquin Deprived of Screen Time in The Irishman?"
De Niro slapped down the criticism, however, and told USA Today that her line was important and her character "powerful."
"She was very powerful and that's what it was," he told the outlet. "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."
Back in October, Paquin herself spoke out on her limited lines in the film, expressing nothing but gratitude for being involved in the project at all.
In remarks to the Daily Mail, Paquin said, "I think a lot can be said without words. I think sometimes a look is worth a thousand words and the internalized judgement that she has passed on her father is not something that she would be able to verbalize, not at that stage of her life."
"She'd need 20 years of therapy to be able to explain to him why he was a problematic parent," Paquin said of her character, Peggy. "But it was really interesting, it was a bit of a challenge, but one that was incredibly exciting for me."