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    Julia Garner Explains How She Came Up With Anna's Accent, Plus 26 More Facts From The Making Of "Inventing Anna"

    Julia Garner and Anna Chlumsky said it was an honor to "experience the writing from Shonda Rhimes" on Inventing Anna.

    A header reading "Spotlight with Julia Garner and Anna Chlumsky"
    Nicole Rivelli / Netflix / BuzzFeed

    There are MASSIVE spoilers ahead for Inventing Anna.

    1. First, Julia Garner knew about Anna Delvey from Jessica Pressler's original article in The Cut from 2018, and she had a feeling it would be turned into a movie or TV show someday.

    Nicole Rivelli / Netflix

    "I pretty much read it and freaked out at the same time as everybody else," Julia explained. "There are articles all the time, but that was a special one. I kind of had a feeling when I read the article that they would make a project out of it. The story was just too good."

    2. And even though she knew she could take on the role of Anna, Julia Garner never thought she would actually be cast to play the role.

    Stephane Cardinale / Timothy A. Clary / AFP / Getty Images

    "I never thought in a million years that I was going to be cast for it," Julia began. "I knew I could play her, but I sometimes feel with Hollywood, you know, just because somebody looks different, they would never think to cast that person. So, half a year later, I got the phone call and I started playing her. I couldn't say no. I feel very fortunate that I got to play such an interesting person and tell a great story."

    3. Meanwhile, Anna Chlumsky did not know anything about Jessica Pressler's article on Anna Delvey, but she did know about her 2015 article that inspired the movie Hustlers.

    David Giesbrecht / Netflix

    "I had not seen the [Anna Delvey] article, however I had read Jessica Pressler's article about the very smart strippers years before. I remember reading that one and thinking, God, this has to be a movie, and then it was," Anna recalled. "So, when I realized the Anna Delvey article was the same Jessica Pressler, I was so excited and knew it was very good stuff. I was happy to be introduced to Anna our way through Shonda [Rhimes], because her take on it is, in my opinion, what is so captivating."

    4. Julia Garner didn't have a traditional audition for Inventing Anna. Instead, the audition process consisted of her having a meeting with Shonda Rhimes.

    Aaron Epstein / Netflix

    "It wasn't like I got a proper offer right away, but it also wasn't like I did a traditional audition," Julia explained. "I was in the middle of filming Ozark and I met with Shonda. We had a Zoom meeting and it was kind of one of those things where we just chatted. I don't want to say it was quiet afterwards, but life goes on, and other projects come up. Then, it came back up and I was super excited. All of a sudden, a few weeks later, I was in a wig, working with my dialect coach, and I was playing Anna."

    5. Similarly, Anna Chlumsky was called into a general meeting with Shonda and executive producer Betsy Beers, but Anna thought Inventing Anna had already been cast.

    Nicole Rivelli / Netflix

    "General meetings are usually pretty straightforward and involve just getting to know each other, so you typically don't have to prepare much, which is nice. So, this was a general, but there was a script, which was cool. I read the script on the plane and I was like, Oh god, this is really good. Then, I was like, Oh, I hope they didn't already find the lady for this because I loved it," Anna explained.

    "I was sitting there thinking the role wasn't available and it was just to showcase what Shonda was up to. So, I met Shonda and Betsy Beers and it was wonderful. Then, Shonda asked me what I thought of the script and I don't think I had even finished it at the time. I was just crazy about her approach to this type of story. We both dished about how much we love limited series, and by the end, I knew I wanted to work for Shonda and specifically on this project. Then, I found out they wanted me for it too. I love to act, so if you give me a chance to, I will do my best."

    6. Julia Garner revealed that one of the best things about working on this show was getting to "know and experience the writing from Shondaland and Shonda Rhimes, specifically."

    George Pimentel / Getty Images

    She elaborated, saying, "Shonda is an incredible writer. It was such a privilege. She's just a brilliant writer. Shonda Rhimes telling the Anna Delvey story is perfect. You couldn't have gotten a more perfect fit. I feel really fortunate that it was Shonda."

    7. And similarly, Anna Chlumsky loved becoming part of the "Shondaland family" and working with actors, writers, and directors who Shonda Rhimes trusts and keeps bringing back for other projects.

    Kate Burton, Jeff Perry, and Katie Lowes in Inventing Anna
    Netflix

    "We had a lot of folks who had worked with Shonda and on Shondaland projects before, and I really love that lineage. I'm part of one. That's how I got on Veep. When a creator meets people that they really trust and love, and they know will work well with their text and they want to keep working with them, I think it's really cool," Anna began. 

    She continued, saying, "It means you really like doing this and you really care about who you work with. So, to be invited into the Shondaland family was a treasure. It's really all it's cracked up to be. I knew several people who had already worked with Shonda before and I've been told so many great things about her, like how she's such a champion of women and a champion of the human being in the workplace. She cares about who has a life outside of work and that their family life matters. You feel like you are valued when you're on a Shonda set. Like Kate Burton was with us, Jeff Perry, Katie Lowes...it's a lovely thing. I loved going to work every day."

    8. Before filming began, Julia Garner visited the real Anna "Delvey" Sorokin in prison, and Julia said she was surprised at just how "charming" and "likable" Anna really is.

    Julia Garner in Inventing Anna vs the real Anna Delvey
    Nicole Rivelli / Netflix / Timothy A. Clary / AFP / Getty Images

    "I knew that Anna was going to be smart and charming because obviously she had to be to accomplish what she did. She got all of that stuff done and scammed these people for a reason. 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," Julia explained. "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."

    9. Jessica Pressler, who wrote the original The Cut article about Anna Delvey, was a producer on the series and attended every table read for every episode.

    Rich Fury / Getty Images

    Anna Chlumsky explained, "Jessica was at our table reads and she's one of our co-producers. I really felt like we had her blessing on anything we were diving into."

    10. Vivian Kent is a fictionalized version of Jessica Pressler, and Anna Chlumsky made the decision to not match Jessica's physicality but simply use her "essences" to build a new character.

    Nicole Rivelli / Netflix

    "Even though Jessica was with us, I wanted to preserve the fictionalization of her a bit," Anna began. "She would've been completely available to me to do lunches and chat deeper, but I chose not to really match her. It was an assignment not to match her like the way some of our other actors have to. So, I had a little more freedom to choose the essences that I thought were important and that I thought could launch me into playing Vivian."

    11. In fact, Anna Chlumsky chose not to mirror Jessica Pressler too much because she loved that Jessica's written work was what was being matched on screen.

    Jessica Pressler's headline vs. Vivian's headline in Inventing Anna
    The Cut / Aaron Epstein / Netflix / Via thecut.com

    She elaborated, saying, "Some of our actors were tasked with matching the true-to-life person and I was not, and all the way up until now I was like, Huh, I wonder what it could've been like to do that, and then I realized the article is matched true to life. The article is like the character that was being matched and that's why Vivian could be fictional. I thought it was really cool and clever."

    12. Anna Chlumsky studied Jessica Pressler's notes and interviews she conducted while researching the real Anna "Delvey" Sorokin.

    Vivian putting photos and notes on a wall
    Netflix

    "What I revered was Jessica's written word," Anna began. "I read every article I know of that she's published. I read all her notes. She's such a gorgeous and meticulous note taker, and a really hilarious note taker. Our research team was so helpful in getting me the notes and interviews. I felt there was such a cerebral connection between Vivian and Jessica that what was on the page was giving me so much of what I needed for the choices I was making."

    13. To get Anna Delvey's accent down, Julia Garner learned how to do German and Russian accents, then layered the two together.

    Someone telling Anna they thought they heard a hint of Russian in her accent
    Netflix

    She explained, "This is a person who was born in Russia and then moved to Germany, but because she's so gifted in languages, she was convincing enough to make people believe that she's German. But at the same time, it's very clear that she doesn't sound like someone who is from a family that lived in Germany for hundreds of years. So the first thing that I had to learn was a German accent. German accents are kind of monotone and they have a vocal fry at the end of every sentence, right?" 

    Julia continued, saying, "Then, after that, I had to put aspects of a Russian accent in very, very subtly. Anything with an 'L' was going to sound more Russian because it's very hard to shake that off when you're Eastern European. 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."

    14. After getting the German and Russian accents down, Julia Garner made sure to include some American speaking habits, which the real Anna "Delvey" Sorokin would've picked up while living in NYC.

    Nicole Rivelli / Netflix

    Julia continued, saying, "She moved to New York and her accent is European, but musically she talks like an American. You know how Americans always have a question at the end of every sentence? It's more less of a matter of fact, like a European, but it's more like everything's a question like an American. I almost wanted it to be like, if she went to Europe, then to her European friends she sounds American. Then in America, she sounds European. It's a hybrid of different accents."

    15. Some of the toughest scenes for Julia Garner to film were the conversations between Anna Delvey and Vivian at the prison. Julia said she felt "very fortunate that it was Anna Chlumsky alongside [her]."

    Netflix

    "First of all, I am such a fan of Anna Chlumsky. She's so great. She's a joy on screen and off screen. It was really wonderful working with her and being able to do those scenes with her," Julia began. "It felt like a really safe space. Some of those prison scenes were intense. There was a lot of shooting days in the jail where Anna and I had to do a lot of intense, emotional acting."

    16. Meanwhile, Anna Chlumsky agreed that the prison chats opposite Julia Garner were some of the most intense moments to film, but they were some of her favorites because she loves when two characters just get to talk on screen.

    Vivian telling Anna that she's a journalist and she can help Anna get what she wants
    Netflix

    "I think Julia had it harder, just physically in those scenes. I was sort of the privileged party who just got to play with it. My favorite thing to sign up for as an actor is to just get in front of another actor and just play and do a conversation," Anna explained. "I get so excited just by people talking on screen. I love it. It's my favorite, especially when it's somebody as generous and as available and complex and deep as Julia Garner. I felt like the luckiest broad to be able to play with that in the same sandbox. It was wonderful." 

    17. And Anna Chlumsky's favorite Anna and Vivian scene was when Vivian brings Anna the finished article to read. She said it was a really enjoyable scene to film, but also to watch as a fan.

    Anna telling Vivian that if her friends did what they had to do she wouldn't be in jail and she never lied
    Netflix

    "I love when Anna has to read the article," Anna explained. "As an audience member, I really, really enjoyed watching that. I like that scene a lot. I like some of the later ones. I mean, I love all of them, and you need the earlier Vivian and Anna scenes to get to the later ones, but I felt like by the time we knew that they had their hooks into each other, that's just when it really gets freakin' spicy and juicy."

    18. The scene Anna Chlumsky is most proud of when looking back at the whole series is when Vivian gives birth. It's the first time Anna had to do a labor scene on screen and she said it was "emotional."

    Netflix

    "I can say I am very proud of the whole job. I really am. But the first scene that comes to my mind that I'm most proud of is the labor scene. I've never done one on screen, but I've been through that in my own life," Anna said. "They make you emotional because they're freakin' the most important things in your entire life. It was kind of crazy watching that scene next to my husband. It was really wild. It was a cathartic experience doing a labor scene and doing it all day. I'm actually extremely pleased with the work everyone did on it and how Nzingha [Stewart] shot it. It was wild."

    19. One of the qualities Julia Garner brought to the role after meeting the real Anna "Delvey" Sorokin was her ability to switch from being "really dark" to "really light" very quickly.

    Nicole Rivelli / Netflix

    She elaborated, saying, "It was interesting because when I met Anna, she went from really light to really dark very quickly and then really dark to really light very quickly. It was really interesting and that was a quality I really wanted to embody. That was really important because it makes more sense, the way she is, because of it and what she was able to do."

    20. What makes Inventing Anna different from other shows is that Shonda and the writing team chose to include a lof of their characters' lives outside of work, which made all of their characters more three-dimensional.

    David Giesbrecht / Netflix

    Anna Chlumsky explained how including Vivian's home life was a gift, saying, "I'm so grateful for it. Shonda really chose to go there for Vivian. She really wrote her as a complete and well-rounded character and that says something. Every choice in someone's life, even before we meet them as a character in a show, speaks to who they are. At any given time, we're built by all the things that happened before." 

    She continued, saying, "It felt very gratifying and fruitful to have so much to pull from even just from the page and knowing that we'd get somewhere with it and that we were going on this journey with Vivian. It's not just a framing device. Yes, we're finding out a lot of information, but we're finding out the information with and as Vivian as opposed to just reaping it from Vivian's lines."

    21. In fact, Anna Chlumsky loved that Shonda Rhimes left "no stone unturned" when diving into Vivian's backstory and that she showed how difficult it was for Vivian to maintain her career while also having her first child.

    Vivian telling her husband that she needs to write her article and prove that she kicked ass and won
    Netflix

    "It feels weird to say, but I felt like such a grownup. I felt like I was doing such a grownup rendition of what it is to be a personWe couldn't ignore that a woman having her first child and also redeeming her career and trying to have a full career is going to be filled with some conflicting things throughout the day," Anna explained. "We can't ignore Vivian's life outside of researching Anna and her story. It felt like Shonda had the desire to not leave any stone unturned. I also loved that she didn't feel the need not to have to tie anything in a neat bow just because you've uncovered something. I love all of those things. Whenever I watch it all again, I think I'll be able to see even more layers to Vivian's character."

    22. Jeff Perry, Anna Deavere Smith, Terry Kinney, and Anna Chlumsky, aka the "Scriberia" journalist group, would play theater games together between scenes.

    Netflix

    "I actually think the crew may have had some disdain for us by the end because we kind of mucked around," Anna Chlumsky hilariously explained. "We didn't goof around between action and cut, we are very professional and very good at what we do, of course. But, you know, after cut, then it was just theater games. We were a mess and it was wonderful."

    23. The Scriberia group were used as comedic relief in some places throughout Inventing Anna, but Anna Chlumsky also loved how they highlighted Vivian's love of journalism and how she was learning to trust people again.

    Maud, Lou, and Barry encouraging Vivian to pitch her article idea
    Netflix

    "I didn't want us to just be comedy, but it fits really well and it serves its purpose. It's part of what Vivian cares about too," Anna began. "I think what I love about that group is that Vivian loves the craft of journalism so much and they highlight that. She believes in it and she didn't just randomly get into it. She really loves journalism and so do they. We learn more about Vivian's career journey and how she thought she had a bunch of colleagues that she was in the same tribe with...but maybe not so much. Vivian had to navigate that and find even more — and often better — connections with this lovely group."

    24. Some of Anna Chlumsky's favorite scenes were anytime Maud, Lou, and/or Barry defended Vivian, because it showcased how friendships work in real life.

    Netflix

    She said, "There's the scene where Maud, played brilliantly by Anna Deavere Smith, under her breath, is standing up for Vivian while something else is going on. I loved that because that's how bonds are made."

    25. Jeff Perry and Anna Chlumsky worked for hours on their scene together in the series finale when Vivian reveals she cares about Anna Delvey. The scene involved going really big at first and then finding a more subtle way to show Vivian's internal emotions.

    Vivian telling Lou, "I care about her. Did she care about me at all?"
    Netflix

    Anna explained, "That was actually a doozy of a scene and that's because none of us — Jeff, myself, directing, writing — really knew how much we needed to show on screen of what was going on inside Vivian. Several times in my career with bigger scenes where I go big and play to 'the third row' and then you can widdle it back and find the perfect place for the scene. So for this, we went everywhere with it and then once we found that spot, it worked perfectly. We earned it because we worked through it a lot to get to what you see in the final cut."

    26. Vivian and Todd's scenes together were some of the cast and crew's favorites because they really showcased human connection and how so much can go unsaid between two people who work together day after day.

    Netflix

    "Arian [Moayed] is so freakin' good in this," Anna began. "I keep texting him and I'm like, 'Dude, I'm actually jealous. I'm actually jealous of how freakin' dropped in and good you are in this.' I think everybody knew that Vivian and Todd scenes were ones we were all just crazy about. Their scenes feel so organic and we have those kinds of scenes all over our show."

    Anna continued, saying, "I just adore our writers and I adore Shonda for what she's doing, which is so much happens in the unsaid but you understand these characters and their relationships to each other so well. So much of it doesn't happen in actual events or behaviors, but everything is going on. It's all bouncing off of each other, but then Vivian and Todd go home and live their separate lives. It's very akin to what it's like to live as a human being. I love those scenes."

    27. And finally, when all was said and done, Julia Garner actually played the role of Anna Delvey for nearly two years, and she said she "grew an attachment to her."

    Nicole Rivelli / Netflix

    "Playing Anna for so long, I grew an attachment to her," Julia explained. "I was playing her for almost two years. It was an interesting role and I want it to be a contradiction. I love when things are a contradiction."

    Inventing Anna is streaming now on Netflix.