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Anna Paquin Recalls Watching “X-Men” Costar Hugh Jackman Achieve Global Fame While Still Being ‘Kind’ (Exclusive)

The actress, who starred at Rogue in the franchise, says she saw Jackman go from complete unknown to movie star without getting a big head: 'He's a role model'

<p>Eamonn M. McCormack/Getty;  Joe Pugliese / 20th Century Fox / TV Guide / courtesy Everett Collection</p> Anna Paquin now, and as Rogue in X-Men in 2000

Eamonn M. McCormack/Getty; Joe Pugliese / 20th Century Fox / TV Guide / courtesy Everett Collection

Anna Paquin now, and as Rogue in X-Men in 2000

When the movie X-Men was released in 2000, it was the first time actress Anna Paquin had found herself starring in a major blockbuster after doing a string of indie films.

"I think I was going into my senior year, so I was 17. And it was totally different, and so much fun," she says of playing Rogue in the film, which kicked off the franchise. "I hadn't grown up a comic book person and it already had a gigantic following so I did my research obviously. When you're in something with that type of fanbase, you have to show respect."

The movie also starred Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellan, Halle Berry, Famke Janssen and Rebecca Romijn, as well as a then mostly unknown Aussie actor named Hugh Jackman, who had been tapped to play Wolverine.

"That was the role that really turned him into a humungous, gigantic movie star, and it couldn't have happened to a more lovely guy," says Paquin, 41, whose new movie, A Bit of Light, will hit theaters on Friday, April 5.

"There are those people you meet and you think, 'They couldn't possibly be that nice,' and then they are," she says of Jackman. "And he's exactly the same, as far as I can tell. He's one of those people who's a good role model for how to conduct yourself in this world. You can be all the big things and you can still be kind, be human, know what matters."

<p>Mary Evans/Twentieth Century Fox / Marvel Comics/Ronald Grant/Everett Collection</p> Anna Paquin and Shawn Ashmorin X Men: The Last Stand in 2006

Mary Evans/Twentieth Century Fox / Marvel Comics/Ronald Grant/Everett Collection

Anna Paquin and Shawn Ashmorin X Men: The Last Stand in 2006

Paquin says she also prefers to live a low-key life, which she's managed to do despite making films and TV shows for 30 years, and marrying her True Blood costar Stephen Moyer in 2010. (Moyer directed Paquin in A Bit of Light.)

Related: Why Stephen Moyer Loves Working With Wife Anna Paquin: 'I Miss Her Otherwise' (Exclusive)

After being discovered in her native New Zealand age 10 and winning an Oscar at 11 for The Piano (becoming the second youngest person ever to win an Oscar, after Tatum O'Neal who won for Paper Moon at age 10 in 1974), she says her parents did a great job sheltering her from the trappings of fame.

"I got to be a kid," she says, adding that she's so grateful that she grew up in a world without social media.

She says she and Moyer try to do the same when it comes to their twins, Charlie and Poppy.

"Luckily it's not a thing yet because they're only 11," she says, of keeping them off Snapchat or Instagram. "Obviously some kids have it at that age for professional reasons, usually run by a parent. But otherwise I don't think it's good idea to document every single silly thing you do as a kid," she says, adding that what you say and do can have implications, even when you're young.

"Even if you don't think it's that bad or your video doesn't matter, your future employer might!"

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