'Inventing Anna' : Everything We Know About Shonda Rhimes' New Netflix Series

Starring Ozark's Julia Garner and Veep's Anna Chlumsky, the nine-part limited series based on the "Soho Grifter" debuts on Feb. 11

Based on a true story about a "total fake."

Ozark star Julia Garner stars in the upcoming series Inventing Anna on Netflix, which will chronicle the "based on a true story" events of the woman who conned some of New York's social elite, inspired by Jessica Pressler's 2018 New York Magazine article "How Anna Delvey Tricked New York's Party People".

The Emmy-winning actress will play Anna Delvey (real name Anna Sorokin) who posed as a wealthy German heiress. Delvey captivated some of New York City's highest fliers, stealing their hearts and then their money (hundreds of dollars worth).

Created by Shonda Rhimes, the series will follow the comedic, love-hate relationship between the notorious, billionaire fraudster and an ambitious journalist (played by Anna Chlumsky) as Delvey awaits her trial. The reporter is anxious to prove herself by getting answers to the question no one seems to be able to answer: "Who is Anna Delvey?"

Inventing Anna
Nicole Rivelli/Netflix

In an attempt to answer that question herself, Garner visited the real Anna Sorokin in prison – but found her secretive and vague.

"Anna doesn't even know herself, and it's really hard to play someone who doesn't know themselves," Garner told Rolling Stone in an interview. "My roles just get harder and harder the older I get ...If I hear that a part's going to be hard, I'm like, 'That sounds terrifying, that sounds terrible.' And then I'm like, 'I'm doing it.'"

Inventing Anna
Nicole Rivelli/Netflix

The recently released trailer displays a first look at Inventing Anna, and marks the first show Rhimes has created since Scandal premiered in 2012.

Julia Garner
Jose Perez/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images

Read on for everything we know about Inventing Anna: When the series premieres, who's in the cast, and everything in between.

When does Inventing Anna premiere?

Inventing Anna is a nine-part, limited series that premieres Feb. 11 on Netflix. It's presented by Rhimes' production company Shondaland – widely known for major series such as Bridgerton, Scandal, and Grey's Anatomy.

Inventing Anna
Aaron Epstein/Netflix

Who's in the Inventing Anna cast?

Garner, who plays Delvey, stars alongside Veep's Chlumsky, who's cast as the journalist Vivian. Her character is loosely based on the 2018 New York Magazine reporter Pressler who "collects other people's tales of who Anna is," Rhimes told Variety. "Vivian is the person who journeys us through the whole thing."

Additional cast members include Arian Moayed (Succession), Katie Lowes (Scandal), Alexis Floyd (The Bold Type), Anders Holm (Workaholics), Anna Deavere Smith (The West Wing), Jeff Perry (Scandal), Terry Kinney (The Little Things), and Laverne Cox (Orange Is the New Black).

inventing anna
Aaron Epstein/Netflix

Where's the real Anna Delvey now?

Inventing Anna is based on a true story surrounding Anna Delvey, whose real name is Anna Sorokin. After being convicted of grand larceny and theft of services in 2019, she was sentenced to four to 12 years in prison, which she initially served in Riker's Island. She was released in Feb. 2021 for good behavior, but her Instagram caught the attention of ICE, who claimed she overstayed her visa. According to Insider, she remains in custody while she awaits deportation to Germany.

So what led to her conviction? In the mid-2010s, Sorokin cultivated a group of friends in New York's nightlife scene, telling them she was an heiress worth $60 million. Through fraudulent loans and scams like using bad debit cards so her friends would be on the hook for her spending, she ended up scamming more than $200,000 — but she was able to pay her restitution with some of the money from the $320,000 that Netflix paid her for the rights to her story.

Anna Sorokin
Richard Drew/AP/Shutterstock

"She stole from banks," prosecutor Kaegan Mays-Williams told the jury, according to the New York Times. "She stole from hotels. She stole from friends. She tried to steal from a hedge fund." At the time of her conviction, Delvey told the outlet, "The thing is, I'm not sorry. I'd be lying to you and to everyone else and to myself if I said I was sorry for anything."

Anna Sorokin
Anna Sorokin aka Anna Delvey. TIMOTHY A. CLARY/getty

Did Shonda Rhimes meet Anna Delvey before filming Inventing Anna?

Unlike Garner, who visited Sorokin, Rhimes decided not to meet the real Delvey. "I purposely did not meet her because A, she was in prison [and there was a] pandemic at the time," Rhimes told Variety. "But B, I didn't meet her because I didn't want to be influenced. Anna, as anybody can tell you, has a wildly charismatic personality, and I didn't want to meet her and fall madly in love with her, and then be completely on her side.

Rhimes also added: "And I didn't want to meet her and dislike her intensely and then be against her... I wanted to stick with the eyes of the reporter [character]."

shonda rhimes
Kevin Winter/Getty

When did production begin for Inventing Anna?

Filming in N.Y.C. for Inventing Anna began in fall 2019, but due to the pandemic, they had to finish a whole year later. Typically, all Netflix shows must be written in full prior to filming, but Rhimes resisted that process due to her belief in "the power of performance."

Rhimes told Variety, "It allows for no jazz, you know what I mean? No improvisation, no nothing," she says. "It's efficient, but it's a hard way of looking at things. And so for me, I really needed the space to be able to let the actors play — and then discover stuff from what they were doing."

Julia Garner
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