Inventing Anna's Julia Garner Reveals What Surprised Her When She Met The Real Anna Delvey

Julia Garner plays Anna Delvey/Anna Sorokin on Inventing Anna.
(Image credit: Netflix)

Julia Garner and the rest of the cast of the new Netflix series Inventing Anna had an opportunity that actors don’t always get when acting in "based on a true story" projects: they got to meet the real-life people they were portraying. Even Anna Delvey (real name Anna Sorokin), who was still in prison at the time, took a meeting with Garner ahead of the Shonda Rhimes project. Despite the research Garner had done on Delvey, she said there was one aspect of meeting the fake heiress in person that surprised her. 

Inventing Anna tells the story of Anna Delvey, who lied about having a rich father and $60 million trust fund in order to scheme her way into the New York social scene. Julia Garner, who won two Emmy Awards for the role of Ruth on Ozark, stars as Delvey, and she got the chance to visit the Albion Correctional Facility in upstate New York, where Delvey was serving her four-to-twelve year sentence for larceny and theft charges. Garner told IMDB the most surprising part about meeting the socialite:

The thing that [struck] me that I didn't expect — I don't even know really how to describe it — but was how bubbly she was at moments and how likable she was. And how charming she was. And how quickly she could go from light to dark and dark to light. Like, in seconds.

Julia Garner probably had an image of Anna Delvey in her head after doing research on her for the role, so it must have been surprising to witness these aspects of Delvey's personality that wouldn't be obvious from articles or even in talking to people who knew her. Being able to see those personality traits first-hand was probably a great tool for Garner, and Delvey's mood flipping from light to dark or vice versa was definitely something Garner used in the series. 

It’s also interesting that the actress was surprised at how likable Anna Delvey was in person. This was a young woman who literally talked her way into a ridiculously expensive lifestyle. Maybe Julia Garner wasn’t expecting Delvey to turn on the charms so heavily while in prison, but come on, Delvey wants to be famous! Either way, it’s pretty cool that Garner was able to have those experiences that she could then translate to her on-camera performance.

Anna Delvey was arrested in 2017 and held for two years until her trial. After being sentenced to four-to-twelve years, she was released from prison in February 2021 but arrested again just six weeks later for overstaying her visa. She remains in ICE custody as she waits to learn if she'll be deported to Germany.

The Netflix series was inspired by a New York Magazine article, “How Anna Delvey Tricked New York’s Party People,” written by Jessica Pressler and published in 2018. In Inventing Anna, Anna Chlumsky plays Vivian Kent, a journalist based on Pressler.

Inventing Anna is available for streaming now with a Netflix subscription. If you liked the portrayal of Anna Delvey on Inventing Anna, check out some more movies and shows featuring Julia Garner. You can also check out some of the best shows on Netflix right now, and be sure to see what shows are premiering soon with our 2022 TV schedule.

Heidi Venable
Content Producer

Mom of two and hard-core '90s kid. Unprovoked, will quote Friends in any situation. Thrives on New Orleans Saints football, The West Wing and taco trucks.