Robert De Niro has defended Anna Paquin’s role (Picture: Getty; Netflix)

Robert De Niro has defended leading lady Anna Paquin’s role in The Irishman after critics on social media slammed her lack of dialogue.

Throughout Martin Scorsese’s new Netflix film, Anna’s character Peggy Sheeran has just seven words over two lines.

(For the record, her seven words are ‘Why? Why?’ and then ‘Why haven’t you called Jo?)

Her seven words of dialogue come in two hours and 50 minutes into the movie, prompting some fans to ask why she wasn’t given more.

But now Robert De Niro is defending the creative direction.

‘She was very powerful and that’s what it was,’ De Niro 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.

‘She’s terrific and it resonates.’

Weighing into the debate in November, Anna responded to a tweet calling out the lack of lines.

‘Nope, nobody was doing any “ordering”,’ she tweeted. ‘I auditioned for the privilege of joining the incredible cast of @TheIrishmanFilm and I’m incredibly proud to get to be a part of this film.’

Since the movie dropped, some viewers have defended the creative direction of Anna only having two lines.

One fan of the film mused: ‘I am in the camp that it was good and extremely necessary that Anna Paquin’s character has very little dialogue in The Irishman.’

Anna Paquin also defended her role in The Irishman (Picture: Netflix)

While another tweeted: ‘Everyone is attacking Scorsese for the fact that Anna Paquin has one speaking line in The Irishman when they should be mentioning that she’s doing some of the best work in the film.’

Then another similarly wrote: ‘Anna Paquin’s seven words in The Irishman make up the film’s most emotionally devastating line of dialogue.’

The gangster flick follows protagonist Frank Sheeran – dubbed the Irishman – as he recounts his life as a hitman, and his encounters with union official Jimmy Hoffa and the Bufalino crime family.

More: Martin Scorsese

It’s based on the book I Heard You Paint Houses and cost a reported $160 million (£130 million) to make.

You can watch The Irishman on Netflix now.

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