How Julia Garner really got her Anna Delvey accent

When Anna Delvey first arrived on Manhattan’s social scene, she seemed like the latest It girl, with big promises and even more money. But all of that seemingly endless wealth collapsed when an ex-girlfriend published a revelation in Vanity Fair that described Delvey as “a magician from Manhattan” who left her with bills she couldn’t afford. The truth was that Delvey (legal name: Anna Sorokin) was just a scammer who ripped off her elite friends, hotels and banks. Her fraudulent schemes were further exposed in journalist Jessica Pressler’s New York Magazine article – and as of June, Delvey has been in ICE custody awaiting appeal, according to the New York Post.

Because the world loves a good scam story, Shonda Rhimes got her hands on Delvey’s real-life experiences and turned them into a Netflix docu-drama called Inventing Anna. The synopsis for the limited series reads on Netflix: “Bold Entrepreneur or Cheater? A journalist pursues the story of Anna Delvey, who convinced New York’s elite that she is a German heiress.” Inventing Anna, starring Anna Chlumsky and Julia Garner, was released in February and was acclaimed by media and fans alike praised. Reviewer Nandini Balial called Garner “disturbingly flawless” in her role, noting that her take on Delvey’s “bizarre” accent could have a future Emmy nod. The accent also divided fans with some praises Garner’s dialect and others remain confused by its inconsistencies. Whichever camp you fall into, there’s no denying that the accent itself has been a topic of conversation.

Julia Garner adopted a mixture of European accents

In February, “Ozark” actress Julia Garner stopped by “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” to talk about the challenges of taking on Anna Delvey’s accent. Garner called it “the hardest accent I’ve ever done,” Garner explained, “That’s a girl who says she’s German, but she’s actually Russian, so she won’t have a Russian accent. So first I had to act like a European, like a German accent, right, you know? …And then I had to…add Russian for certain words. …And then it’s Americanized.” In a behind-the-scenes Netflix clip, Garner also shared how critical her mastery of Delvey’s dialects was in getting her into the role. “A big thing for me was the accent. If I didn’t have the accent, I wouldn’t have much character,” she said.

There was an added challenge, as somewhat of a chameleon, the real Delvey changed her accent to match whoever she was hanging out with. “If [Anna is] around a bunch of Europeans it will make it sound more European. But when she’s around her American friends, she’ll try to sound maybe more like an American girl,” she reasoned. In other words, this was not a passive endeavor. The actor – who describes himself as a “perfectionist” – had kept his wits about him to capture Delvey’s unique way of speaking, but it was worth the challenge.

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What did Anna Delvey think of Julia Garner’s accent?

Julia Garner’s Anna Delvey accent was So Impressively, it was praised by both showrunner Shonda Rhimes and Delvey himself. “Julia spent a lot of time perfecting herself [Anna’s accent]’ Rhimes told The Hollywood Reporter. “Ultimately, I think it was one of the biggest contributions to impersonating this character.” In a Netflix interview, Rhimes described the accent as “very specific and very real and very Anna. There was no way the show could be done without including them because it also led to the idea that you had no idea where [Anna] was from. It gave her mystique.”

To dive in, Garner met up with the real Delvey at Albion Correctional Facility in Buffalo, New York, per “Today.” She also studied recordings by Delvey. And for what it’s worth, Delvey thinks her fictional counterpart has (sort of) nailed her accent. “It’s really hard to tell where she’s from. She kind of got it right,” Delvey told the New York Times.

Garner explained that when the actor visited the con artist in prison, Delvey was curious about how she took on the accent. “She’s like, ‘Please let me hear it,'” Garner mimicked, calling the whole experience “very meta,” per Town & Country. On Julia Fox and Niki Takesh’s Forbidden Fruits podcast, Delvey said something similar. “It’s just so weird because the way you hear yourself – your voice is just completely different [on TV],” she explained.