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'Inventing Anna' Creator Says Parts Of Series Were 'Intentionally Fictionalized'

"Inventing Anna" creator Shonda Rhimes says there are parts of the Anna Sorokin story depicted in her series that are true but she cannot admit that they are.

By Gina Tron
Julia Garner Inventing Anna Netflix 1

The creator of “Inventing Anna” has given some insight into the making of the popular series, based upon the life and crimes of Anna Sorokin.

Netflix’s new series stars Julia Garner as the 31-year-old grifter who posed as a German heiress named Anna Delvey. Sorokin solicited $275,000 from friends, banks and businesses though she has always maintained that she had a legitimate business plan for her project, the Anna Delvey Foundation. 

The show’s creator Shonda Rhimes, also known for being the showrunner of “Grey’s Anatomy,”  recently told Inventing Anna: The Official Podcast that the show is full of events “that are true that we can’t admit are true,” The Independent reports.

However she said there are also “things in there that are made up.”

Made up or not, she said it all “encompasses the essence of who Anna is.”

Rhymes explained that she hired a researcher for the show, who then separated fact from fiction. The researcher then informed the writers of the show of the details.

“We were telling a story that was based on fact, so needed a document to build an extensive timeline of events, to dig into little things that we weren’t even sure were going to matter,” Rhimes said. “For this particular show, having someone who has read every transcript of the trial, who was paying close attention to every detail in Anna’s life, was really, really important, because we wanted to know what we were thinking. We wanted to know what we were making up; we didn’t want to be making things up just for the sake of it.”

She added, “we wanted to intentionally be fictionalizing moments versus just accidentally be fictionalizing them.”

The series has certainly already caused some drama off-screen as Sorokin has gotten into a public spat with former friend, writer Rachel Williams over their depictions. Williams, who has also written a book about the events, called “Inventing Anna” a “dangerous” distortion in a recent interview with Vanity Fair. She even denounced the series for having "a narrative designed to create empathy" for Sorokin, "a character who lacks" it. Others have criticized the show for being "too enamored" with its own subject.

Rhymes told the podcast that “everything is true until it’s not in Anna’s world.” 

The series paints a fantastical world in which Sorokin fakes it until she makes it. Her character makes no qualms about lying about who she is to get what she wants. So much so, that sometimes it’s difficult to tell if she believes her own lies. 

Sorokin was convicted of multiple grand larceny and theft charges in 2019 before serving four years. While Sorokin was released from prison last February, she was arrested six weeks later by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) for overstaying her visa. The Russian-born German is still in ICE custody in upstate New York. This week, she filed a lawsuit, along with other detainees, against ICE for allegedly failing to protect her and others at high risk for COVID-19 from the virus.

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