Anna Paquin

X-Men 2

Interviewed by Stephen Applebaum

Anna Paquin won a best supporting actress Oscar aged 11 for her performance as an angry poppet in "The Piano". Now 20, she is regarded as one of the best purveyors of adolescent angst in Hollywood. Despite showing few actual signs of neuroses in person, she tells you why she was attracted to the role of Rogue, the teenage mutant with a deadly touch.

Rogue is another of your tortured adolescents. What appeals to you about these characters?

"Well, the years from 10 to 20, when your body, mind and everything is like changing every five minutes, can be pretty torturing. And most of the interesting characters, I think, are somewhat tortured or torturous. I'm 20 now, so I'm only just an adult. Maybe I'll start playing adult characters soon. But seeing as I still get asked when I travel on airplanes if I'm an unaccompanied minor, I guess I'll maybe be playing tortured adolescents for a little while longer.

People who have written about these films have offered numerous allegorical interpretations. Did you discuss their meaning with Bryan Singer?

There's thousands of allegories for them. Tolerance, prejudice, racism, sexism, any group that's been singled out because of some difference they may have on the surface, and then judged or treated poorly because of that. That's what the mutation thing is. With me and my character - literally not being able to touch anyone and literally feeling physically isolated - really exaggerated that adolescent pain and angst, and that feeling that everyone's looking at you like you're a freak.

You said you wanted to do more action in the sequel. Did you get to do as much as you'd have liked?

No. I'd really like to get to do some fighting, some martial arts training, because I think that would be really fun. I got to do a stunt that involved a lot of wire and harness work, which was about two months of training. That was really cool because I do gymnastics and ballet, and I'm very, very into the physically acrobatic end of sport. It was very Cirque du Soleil.

How are Rogue and her boyfriend, Bobby Drake (aka Iceman), going to get over their inability to touch each other?

I don't know, although there were lots of jokes about that on set.

Tell us one...

I don't think it's shareable!