Robert De Niro defends Anna Paquin's lack of lines in The Irishman

Robert De Niro defends Anna Paquin's lack of lines in The Irishman

Robert De Niro has defended Anna Paquin's minimal role in 'The Irishman'.

Anna plays Peggy Sheeran, the most prominent female character in Martin Scorsese's Mafia drama, but only says seven words in 10 minutes of screentime.

The movie tells the story of former mob boss Frank Sheeran - played by De Niro - who claims to have murdered labor union chief Jimmy Hoffa, who disappeared in 1975.

Following Jimmy's murder, Peggy, who has a strained relationship with her father, asks Frank: "Why? Why?"

Frank then replies, "Why what?", prompting her to add: "Why haven't you called Jo?"

But De Niro, 76, insists those lines from Paquin, 37, maybe few but are "very powerful".

Speaking to USA Today, the two-time Academy Award winner said: "She was very powerful and that's what it was. Maybe in other scenes there could've been some interaction between Frank and her possibly, but that's how it was done. She's terrific and it resonates."

Paquin defended her role in the film earlier this month, scoffing at a Twitter suggestion that she had been ordered by Scorsese to appear in the movie.

She tweeted: "Nope, nobody was doing any ordering. I auditioned for the privilege of joining the incredible cast of 'The Irishman' and I'm incredibly proud to get to be a part of this film."

Scorsese, 76, previously defended the lack of female representation in his films insisting he tells his stories accurately.

He said: "No. That's not even a valid point. That's not valid. That's a question I've had for so many years ... If the story doesn't call for (female characters) ... It's a waste of everybody's time. If the story calls for a female character lead, why not?"

The legendary director also suggests that critics "don't count" his female-driven films such as 'Casino' and 'Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore' because they choose to dismiss them.

He said: "They don't count that. Age of Innocence, they don't count that ... Casino. Sharon Stone's great in that. They don't count that. Forget it."

The 'Wolf of Wall Street' director admitted that he wants to include more women in his films, but feels his age may prevent him from making many more movies.

He said: "Sure, I'd like to do (sic). But you know what, I'm 76 now. How am I going to have the time? I don't know what's going to happen. We don't know. I don't have time anymore."