With a star-studded cast which includes the likes of De Niro, Al Pacino, Joe Pesci, Ray Romano, Bobby Cannavale, Stephen Graham and more, it is Scorsese’s use of Anna Paquin which has again drawn criticism. Paquin, who is the second-youngest winner in Oscar history, plays the role of Peggy Sheeran, the adult daughter of De Niro’s hitman character Frank Sheeran and says just seven words in the film.
Despite the murmurs of discontent, De Niro has defended the decision: “She was very powerful and that’s what it was,” he told USA Today. “Maybe in other scenes there could’ve been some interaction between Frank and her possibly, but that’s how it was done.”
The film, which runs for three-and-a-half hours, sees Paquin’s character finally offer some words at around two hours and fifty minutes into the film when she insists her father answer why he has yet to reach out to Jimmy Hoffa’s wife following his disappearance: “Why?” Peggy asks him. “Why? Why haven’t you called Jo?”
Despite her lack of spoken lines, Paquin’s performance in the film has been heavily praised, her silence offering an insight into the unspoken rules of mob life. “She’s terrific and it resonates,” De Niro concluded.