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When Campion met Paquin—whose only acting experience had been as a skunk in a school play—she was very impressed with the nine-year-old's performance of the monologue about Flora's father, and she was chosen from among the 5000 candidates.
When The Piano was released in 1993 it was lauded by critics, won prizes at a number of film festivals, and eventually became a popular film among a wide audience.
Director Jane Campion was looking for a little girl to play a main role in The Piano, set to film in New Zealand, and a newspaper advertisement was run announcing an open audition.
Paquin's sister read the ad and went to try out with a friend; this inspired Paquin to also audition.
She graduated from Windward School in June 2000 and completed the school's Community Service requirement by working in a soup kitchen and at a Special Education Centre.
She studied at Columbia University for one year but has since been on a leave of absence to continue her acting career.
Paquin was cast as waitress Sookie Stackhouse in the HBO series True Blood in 2008, her first role in a TV series.
She also played the voice of Kristin on an episode of Phineas and Ferb.
Paquin reprised her role as Rogue in the 2014 film X-Men: Days of Future Past, but most of her scenes were cut out for the theatrical release.
In 2010, Paquin's film The Romantics, a romantic comedy with Josh Duhamel and Katie Holmes, was released in the US at selected cinemas in September.
She played a cameo role in Scream 4, alongside Kristen Bell in 2011.
Between 20, she starred in, as well as executive-produced Blue State.