This Sunday at 9 pm/ET, HBO premieres Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee, a wrenching adaptation of Dee Brown's history of the hardships the Indian nations suffered in late-19th-century America. In it, the quirkily charismatic Anna Paquin plays Elaine Goodale, the wife of a Dartmouth-educated Sioux (SVU's Adam Beach) who devotes her life to the tribe. The Oscar winner spoke with us about the film.
TV Guide: How would you describe Elaine?
Paquin: She's strong and modern. Most people weren't interested in working with native populations at that time, but she spoke the language fluently and lived on the reservation. She knew the culture from the inside.
TV Guide: What did you learn about America's treatment of Indians?
Paquin: I knew the broad strokes, but I wasn't familiar with the specific details. Reading the book was informative because [the government was] just relentless in [its] mistreatment. It's awful that there's no way to go back in time and fix it.
TV Guide: What was it like starting your career in a film with the magnitude of The Piano?
Paquin: I didn't know it was such a big movie at the time. I wasn't aware that I was going to have a career. It just happened.
TV Guide: You'll play a mind reader in HBO's fall series True Blood.
Paquin: It's based on books by Charlaine Harris that follow a waitress — me — and her adventures in Louisiana during a time when vampires are integrated into society. It's a cool setup for some great plots. [Six Feet Under creator] Alan Ball does wacky and out-there [writing] in a way that no one else does.
TV Guide: Would you like to read minds?
Paquin: No! [Laughs] It's a little weird when you can eavesdrop on everything [people are] thinking about you!
Let our new Online Video Guide cue up some Anna Paquin clips for you.
Send your comments on this Q&A to email@example.com.