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Praise for Anna

Army Archerd
Daily Variety Senior Columnist

What a pleasure to sit in a theater, surrounded by a full house of moviegoers, all ages, all colors all attentive, all applauding. It's what movies were made for. So it was such a joy to be at the AMC in Century City, sitting with a non-industry audience watching Fly Away Home and marveling at the Carroll Ballard movie, its moviemakers, and its cast led by the remarkable Anna Paquin. When I heard David Rintels just returned from directing her in Member of the Wedding for USA Network (Jan. airing), I wondered about Paquin's performance. Rintels' description of the now 14-year-old Oscar winner: "She is kind of a miracle. She astonished me. The part is usually played by an older woman. But there isn't anything she (Paquin) can't do gracefully. It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. She has the luminous grace of an Audrey Hepburn -- and at 14."

And in four days -- during Hurricane Bertha -- this little New Zealand girl, with the help of voice coach Susan Hegarty, learned a perfect Georgia accent.

Carson McCullers' book became a play, then a 1952 movie, which starred the B'way cast of Ethel Waters, Julie Harris and Brandon deWilde. The TV cast stars Paquin, Alfre Woodard and newcomer Corey Dunn. Rintels had once produced the play as well, but says "I wanted to do my adaptation of the book"). As for Woodard, Rintels said, "Marty Ritt directed her in Cross Creek(1983) and told me, 'There is no finer actress anywhere in the world,' so I always wanted to work with her. And he was right."

Reuters/Variety, September 20, 1996