If Shonda Rhimes read the New York Magazinearticle “How Anna Delvey tricked New York’s Party People” she became immediately obsessed.

“I remember calling my office and saying, ‘There’s this article and we have to get it,'” Shonda shares in a featurette. I was fascinated by the details. “I was always curious how she managed to uncover so many of these details.”

In the piece, published May 2018, journalist Jessica Pressler detailed how fake German heiress Anna DelveyBorn Anna Sorokin, conned New York City’s elite out of thousands of dollars. Anna was also in New York’s state prison. 

It was this dedication to uncovering the truth that made Shonda decide to write Inventing Anna from the perspective of the journalist, who is played by Anna Chlumsky. But Anna shares that her character, Vivian, is “very, very, very loosely based” on the real-life Jessica.

Vivian was also made obsessed by this particular case. Julia GarnerHe plays the role of the fraudulent journalist. “Vivian becomes wrapped up in Anna Delvey’s story,” the actress says, “and Anna likes that Vivian is running after her—in jail.”