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24 Fascinating Behind-The-Scenes Facts About Shonda Rhimes Shows That You Need To Know

Bridgerton once had to skedaddle from a filming location to make room for *checks notes* the literal Queen of England.

Inventing Anna

Anna Delvey on the street

1. Julia Garner, who played Anna Sorokin (aka Anna Delvey), told BuzzFeed that prior to the beginning of filming, she met Sorokin in prison.

Anna Delvey in the Moroccan villa

Garner said, "The thing that I was the most surprised about when I met her was I didn't expect how likable — like, so likable — she is. She was so bubbly and just very charming. If she was carrying herself like a villain, nobody would have invested in her, no one would've wanted to be around her. There was something about her that people wanted to be around. Every con artist is charismatic in some way."

The real Anna Delvey leaving a courtroom dressed in all black

2. To mimic Anna's distinctive accent, Garner told BuzzFeed that she first learned a German accent, then "put aspects of a Russian accent in very, very subtly." Garner added, "Then, she learned English like a Brit because she's European. They don't learn like an American, so I had to layer that in as well." That three-layer cake of accents resulted in Anna's voice.

3. Katie Lowes plays Rachel Williams, who Anna scammed out of $62,000 while they were on what was supposed to be an all-expenses-paid trip to Morocco. While Lowes didn't meet her real-life inspiration, she told Vulture that a writer on the show, Matt Byrne, was at Anna's actual trial, and was able to give her pointers on her performance.

Katie as Rachel at dinner

Said Lowes, "When I took the stand as Rachel during rehearsal and I cried, he came up to me and was like, 'Oh no, no, no honey. I was there; Rachel was ugly sobbing as if no one was watching. They had to stop the proceeding because she was crying so hard.' I was like, 'Oh shit. Okay. Let’s go to a really dark place in my mind and get the tears flowing.'"

Katie as Rachel weeping on the stand

4. Jessica Pressler, the real-life reporter whose article inspired the show (and the character of Vivian Kent), told Vulture that she was contacted about Shonda Rhimes adapting the story for Netflix around a month after she (Pressler) gave birth. When Pressler explained the situation and apologized for her late reply, Rhimes responded, "Don’t EVER apologize for the work of being a woman and a mother. If you were a man, people would be putting you on the cover of Time magazine for taking care of kids and doing ANY work at all at the same time." Said Pressler, "And I was instantly smitten."

Anna Chlumsky as Vivan Kent, holding a notebook

5. Pressler actually did provide clothing for Anna during her trial, though she told Vulture that it was a "screwball sequence of ridiculousness" rather than "a fraught situation." She recalled that the trial was delayed because Anna's civilian clothes were nowhere to be found. Pressler said, "This wasn’t all because of Anna’s vanity — defendants have to wear civilian clothes at trial because if they wear a prison jumpsuit it might prejudice the jury."

Anna being led out of court in a black dress

To save time, Pressler was asked to find Anna something to wear; after that, she continued to provide clothing throughout the trial. Pressler said, "I did throw in one of my dresses at one point, but it was black. I did not feel like it was a conflict at all. I felt like, This will be a funny story someday."

A screenshot of an insta account called "annadelveycourtfashion"

6. However, the wall of evidence that Vivian uses to organize the story is an invention of the show. Pressler told Vulture, "To be clear, there wasn’t a murder wall. I had a spreadsheet. But that’s not very visual. That would have been Google Docs: The Show."

Grey's Anatomy

The interns of Seattle Grace hospital in the clinic

7. During an interview with Oprah Winfrey, Shonda Rhimes said that the idea for Grey's Anatomy originated with her and her sisters' "obsession" with documentary television shows involving surgery and medicine.

Shonda Rhimes on the red carpet for Grey's Anatomy

Rhimes said, "My sisters and I would call each other up and talk about operations we'd seen on the Discovery Channel. There's something fascinating about the medical world — you see things you'd never imagine, like the fact that doctors talk about their boyfriends or their day while they're cutting somebody open. So when ABC asked me to write another pilot, the OR seemed like the natural setting."

a character treats a patient in an emergency room

8. Sandra Oh pitched a scene where her character, Cristina Yang, has an uncontrollable crying fit. During that same interview with Oprah, Rhimes said, "Sandra came to me and said, 'I think I can pull off a scene in which I can't stop crying.' I wasn't sure how we'd work that in, but I started thinking, 'This is the perfect way to handle the fact that Cristina Yang never deals with her feelings.' There had to be a point where we see someone who's deeply in control just come apart. We thought that could be funny."

Oh as Yang while talking to Meredith

9. Patrick Dempsey (Derek Shepherd) recalled in a panel with the Paley Center for Media that when he first met with Shonda Rhimes about the show, she stared at him with "no expression" throughout the meeting. Afterwards, Dempsey said he concluded, "Shonda Rhimes hates me."

Though Dempsey was briefly "completely terrified" of Rhimes, the showrunner explained that she was simply distracted during their first encounter. Rhimes said, "I was trying to figure out, like, what dialogue I could write for him to say. And honestly, the entire time that he was in the room, he walked in the room, I was like, oh my god, he's so dreamy."

Dempsey as Shepherd sitting in a church pew in a suit

10. Writer Meg Marinis revealed that when the writing staff work on a script, they use the phrase "medical medical" in place of the actual medical terminology that will later be added in by the show's experts, researchers, and consultants. Marinis offered this bit of dialogue as an example: "Derek, hand me the medical medical."

Two nurses attending to a patient

11. In the episode "As We Know It," a bomb defuser named Dylan (Kyle Chandler) dies when a bomb that was stuck in a patient's chest detonates in his hands. In an oral history of that episode published in Entertainment Weekly, Rhimes recalled mixed feelings about the death.

the bomb defuser next to a surgeon

She said, "[Chandler] would pitch me ideas on how Dylan, his character, could maybe not explode, and I would show him the line in the script that said, 'Dylan explodes.' That’s literally all it said. He was written to explode. But I did not expect to have Kyle Chandler. I didn’t want to explode him."

the doctor hands over the bomb


two love interests from Bridgerton at a ball

12. After they were cast, Phoebe Dynevor (Daphne Bridgerton) and Regé-Jean Page (Simon Basset, the Duke of Hastings) underwent six weeks of prep to get them ready to portray their Regency era characters.

the Duke and Daphne in each other's arms at a ball

Dynevor told Harper's Bazaar, "And then, as my schedule came in, horse riding on Monday and piano lessons on Tuesday and etiquette training. I was like, ‘Oh, okay. This is kind of crazy.’"

Dynevor as Daphne peeking out of a carriage

13. Dynevor told Harper's Bazaar that she had "104 dresses" for the first season, and that she wore "a new dress for every scene."

Daphne's necklace is put on by the prince

One of her favorites was a dark green one Daphne wore while getting her portrait painted in Episode 8. Dynevor said, "And there's something about it that really shows that she has become a woman and grown, and she's no longer wearing petals and light blues and pastel. She's now sort of holding her own."

the duke and Daphne have their portrait painted

14. Showrunner Chris Van Dusen tweeted that the cast and crew had to rush to film the scene where the Duke declares his love for Daphne to the Queen because the actual and literal Queen of England needed their shooting space, the Lancaster House in London.

the queen sipping tea

15. Lizzy Talbot, the intimacy coordinator on Bridgerton, told the BuzzFeed Daily podcast that the show's sex scenes were intricately planned long in advance of filming. Said Talbot, "We had weeks before filming where we would break down every scene into single choreographed moments."

Daphne and the Duke dance together

16. Talbot also revealed that she "developed like a signaling system" with Dynevor and Page to make sure they were "good to go" before filming intimate scenes. According to Talbot, the first scene the pair filmed together was one in which Daphne and the Duke have sex in a library. Talbot said, "I knew they were absolute pros at that point, and they knew what they were gonna do."

the Duke and Daphne have sex on a library ladder

How to Get Away with Murder

Annaliese Keating in her law classroom

17. Pete Nowalk, the creator of the show, told E! News that while he was working on the pilot, he "didn't know 95 percent of who Annalise [Keating] was." He developed his protagonist with the help of Viola Davis, who Nowalk called his "teammate in creating Annalise and really creating her backstory."

Viola Davis as Annalise

18. Speaking of Viola Davis: When she won the Emmy Award for Best Actress in a Drama for her performance as Annalise in 2015, she became the first Black actress to win the award. It was also her first Emmy nomination.

Viola Davis posing with her Emmy

19. The famous scene where Annalise takes off her makeup and wig was originally pitched by Davis herself. In 2014, Nowalk tweeted, "In our very first convo @violadavis pitched a scene where we see Annalise take off her wig."

Annalise rubs her head after taking off her wig

20. Jack Falahee, who played Connor Walsh, told Vulture that he only auditioned for the part because a friend who was staying at his place, and auditioning for Connor himself, told him he should. Said Walsh, "I had to fight tooth and nail to try to get an appointment because they were going for a different look at the time. But then they eventually circled back and I got in the room, so it worked out."

Jack Falahee as Connor


Kerry Washington behind her desk

21. According to a 2016 Smithsonian interview, the cast never filmed in the real Washington D.C., which Kerry Washington called a "sad reality." But the crew shot B-roll of the actual city and edited it into the show through the use of green screens, which the actors would use as backdrops while filming in L.A.

the cast with the US Capitol in the background

22. In the same interview, it was revealed that the cast saw the script for the first time at the table read, which typically took place the day before they started work on the episode. Tony Goldwyn, who plays Fitzgerald Grant, said about this, “We know the show so well that reading it the day before you start shooting it, you have a visceral reaction like an audience does to what the show is and what’s happening and you can then work incredibly fast because you have this very powerful emotional response to the episode, which sticks with you when you go home and learn whatever you have to learn and work on your scenes, sometimes for the next day."

Goldwyn as the president

23. Kerry Washington (Olivia Pope) said during a 2017 interview on Good Morning America, that she had a unique way to raise the energy of the room before an episode begins filming. Washington said, "At the very start of every episode, I scream very loudly. I scream very loudly whatever episode number it is...and then we all bang on furniture and yell and scream."

Kerry Washington as Olivia Pope

24. And finally: Apparently, the wine glass that Olivia Pope prefers — Crate and Barrel's Camille Red Wine Glass — "quadrupled" in sales following the first season's popularity.

someone pouring a glass of wine for Olivia

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