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The Anna Delvey scam is becoming a series. The Hollywood Reporter revealed this week that Emmy winner Julia Garner will take on the role of Anna Sorokin, the scammer who who conned Manhattan socialites out of thousands of dollars using the name Anna Delvey. The series, titled Inventing Anna, comes from Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal creator Shonda Rhimes.
Here’s everything we know.
What’s it about?
Based on Jessica Pressler’s 2018 New York Magazine article “How Anna Delvey Tricked New York’s Party People,” Inventing Anna will chronicle the real-life story of Sorokin, a 28-year-old who posed as a German heiress by the name of Anna Delvey and invaded the New York social scene sometime in the mid-2010s. Sorokin claimed to be on a fast track to a $67 million trust fund, but in reality, she hailed from a lower-middle-class family from Russia. She ultimately scammed her friends and New York businesses out of a total of $275,000.
In 2017, she was charged with grand larceny and theft of services. Along with New York Mag, Vanity Fair reported on Sorokin’s exploits in 2018, and she soon became known as the SoHo Scammer. In March 2019, Sorokin sparked another Internet sensation when she appeared in court in designer clothes; ELLE.com even spoke to Anastasia Walker, the professional stylist Sorokin hired during her trial.
In late April, Sorokin was found guilty and convicted of attempted grand larceny, three grand larceny counts, and a misdemeanor charge of theft of services. In May, she was sentenced to four to 12 years behind bars by a New York court.
The official plot description for Inventing Anna, per THR, reads, “In Inventing Anna, a journalist (Anna Chlumsky) with a lot to prove investigates the case of Anna Delvey (Julia Garner), the Instagram-legendary German heiress who stole the hearts of New York’s social scene—and stole their money as well. But is Anna New York’s biggest con woman or is she simply the new portrait of the American dream? Anna and the reporter form a dark funny love-hate bond as Anna awaits trial and our reporter fights the clock to answer the biggest question in NYC: Who is Anna Delvey?”
Who’s in the cast?
On October 31, The Hollywood Reporter confirmed the casting of five of the show’s stars, led by Garner, who recently picked up an Emmy for the Netflix drama Ozark. Her Sorokin is described as “a young woman in her mid-20s with a hard-to-place European accent who takes New York by storm.” It soon becomes clear she’s leaving “an emotional body count” in her wake.
Emmy nominee Anna Chlumsky (Veep) will join Garner as reporter Vivian, who sees Sorokin’s story as a “golden ticket” for her career. However, as Vivian increasingly reports on the story, “the more attached to Anna she becomes.”
Katie Lowes, who starred on Scandal for seven seasons, will play Rachel. Her character is being described as “a natural-born follower” who worships “Anna Delvey” to the detriment of her own life. However, the description teases that “the woman she becomes because of Anna may be Anna’s greatest creation.”
Orange is the New Black star and Emmy nominee Laverne Cox joins the cast as Kacy Duke, a trainer and life coach to the stars. Her character is described as “mature and centered enough to stay out of any real trouble” when it comes to Sorokin’s scamming.
Newcomer Alexis Floyd (The Bold Type) rounds out the cast as Neff, an aspiring filmmaker who works as a hotel concierge. While her character is “drawn in” by Sorokin’s lifestyle, she’s still described as “nobody’s fool.”
THR reports that The Devil Wears Prada director David Frankel will direct the pilot and another episode. Rhimes will write and produce along with her Shondaland partner Betsy Beers. The show will reportedly film in New York, the stage for most of Sorokin’s schemes.
When will it air?
There’s no set release date for the 10-episode limited series.
Will the real-life Anna Sorokin profit from the show?
Although Buzzfeed reported back in May that Sorokin was ordered to pay $199,000 in restitution and a fine of $24,000, some have wondered if she could stand to profit from a project about her life.
In July, The New York Times reported on a concerted effort to stop that from happening. In May 2019, New York State attorney general Letitia James drew on the “Son of Sam” law—which prohibits felons from making money off their crimes—in a petition filed to prevent Netflix from paying $70,000 to Sorokin. NYT also reports that the attorney general intends to halt future payments of $15,000 per episode consultant fee and $7,500 per episode royalty.
In a text message to NYT, Sorokin’s lawyer Todd Spodek wrote, “It has always been Ms. Sorokin’s intention to pay back her victims. I anticipate resolving the issue without further litigation.”