Shonda Rhimes’ latest Netflix series Inventing Anna is based on Jessica Pressler’s New York Magazine article titled ‘How Anna Delvey tricked New York’s Party People’, an article that garnered Rhimes’ attention upon its release.
The ten-episode limited series chronicles the pursuits of a cunning 28-year-old Anna Sorokin who posed as a fake German heiress under the alias of Anna Delvey and scammed the wealthy socialite f New York.
A pop-cultural icon of some sorts and a female anti-hero, Delvey is seen as the subversion of the American dream. The limited series traces the journalist’s quest to uncover the truth behind her actions and understand her motives.
Ever since its release on February 11th, 2020, the series, with its vast slew of characters, has amassed a massive fan following. While Delvey initially refused to watch the series and see her “fictionalised self” being misrepresented via the lens of a journalist and wrote an essay to Vanity Fair, discussing the same.
Julia Garner, who is seen reprising the lead role of Anna, has, however, defended the show’s depiction of the protagonist, talking about how she wants to “help people try to understand why she did it.”
Here are five behind-the-scenes secrets from Netflix’s Inventing Anna:
5 behind-the-scenes secrets from Netflix’s ‘Inventing Anna’
5. Anna Delvey had more than 3000 outfits designed for her
The real-life Anna Delvey lived a pretty over-the-top lifestyle as seen in her Instagram posts. To bring the character’s extravagance to life, the costume designer Lyn Paolo went to great lengths. She put in a great deal of work to make sure Garner as Delvey is dressed appropriately to infilter the intangible elite society of New York City.
The show purchased 90 per cent of Anna’s costumes, with Paolo designing about 3000 outfits for her. Anna’s iconic looks featured the Valentino cape, Dior handbags, Fendi and Givenchy items and more luxurious fashion materials. The showrunners also borrowed some of her items, namely the iconic Birkin bags.
4. Katie Lowes and Rachel Williams never met
Katie Lowes plays the role of one of the most notorious and highly sight-after characters on the show, Rachel Williams, the friend-turned-foe of Anna Delvey who capitalised on the fraud to release a bestseller. While Williams has been criticised on several occasions and even attacked by Delvey herself, she did not meet Katie Lowes, the actress who played her in the series.
Lowes revealed how she “felt an immediate empathic connection” to Williams but decided against “reach[ing] out to her.” While she did not want to exploit William’s “trauma”, she felt perfectly content with her performance that was polished with Rhimes’ immense contribution.
3. The strange reason for a small writer’s room
Shonda Rhimes has a very particular work culture in her production company, Shondaland. While some of her writers’ rooms are pretty spacious, Rhimes decided to use a smaller, more intimate work environment for the writers of this limited series.
While Inventing Anna being a limited series did not need much space, Rhimes had an interesting reason for putting the writers into such confined spaces. According to her, the room “was a brain trust of people” who are Shondaland alums and have worked with her in the past.
2. The Morocco scenes were shot for three weeks
Inventing Anna characters are pretty familiar with the infamous Morocco trip where Rachel’s contentious proceedings with AmEx leads to her losing the case later. Lowes talked about the brilliant experience of shooting with her co-stars in Morocco for some of the most riveting scenes of the show.
She revealed that Garner, Laverne Cox, Chris Lowell and her “shot for three weeks almost every single day” where were some of the “long days”. This intense and gruelling shoot schedule, however, took place in a protected environment where they “felt [so] safe and connected”.
1. Julia Garner and Anna Chlumsky’s unusual auditions
Julia Garner played the elusive and enigmatic Anna Delvey and extensively prepared her accent for her role as the fake heiress, blending in German, Russian and New Yorker accents to cause a bizarre and jarring effect. She is joined by Anna Chlumsky whose character, Vivian is loosely based on the journalist Jessica Pressler.
The duo was enamoured by the exciting script and was interested in starring in the series. However, they went through a highly unusual audition process where they simply had a heartfelt conversation with Rhimes. Within one casual meeting, their dedication towards the roles managed to impress her, leading to this brilliant casting.