Inspired by a true story, the series “Inventing Anna”, available on Netflix, still allows itself some liberties with reality. Here are seven notable differences, among many others.
“This story is completely true except for the parts that are totally made up.” The Inventing Anna series had warned. From the first minutes of each episode, this message appears to signal the liberties taken by the screenwriters in the adaptation of this news item. Nevertheless, many details are faithful to reality – which exceeds fiction. To distinguish the true from the false, here are the seven major differences to remember.
Changed names and locations
To respect the real protagonists of this crazy story, the series of Shonda Rhimes changed the identities of the characters. Journalist Vivian Kent’s real name is Jessica Pressler. She writes for the New YorkMagazine and not for the Manhattan Magazine, a purely fictitious newspaper. Same thing for Anna Sorokin’s lawyer, Andrew Lance, who here becomes Alan Reed.
In the series, the hotel in which the scammer resides without paying is called 12 George. It’s actually 11 Howard. As a reminder, Netflix paid the real Anna Sorokin over $320,000 to buy the rights to her story and use her real name.
The relationship between the journalist and her hierarchy
Vivian Kent, heroine of Inventing Anna, is under pressure from her two editors. Among other things, they want her to write an article on a case of sexual harassment at the heart of Wall Street. In reality, Jessica Pressler was already a very respected reporter at the time of the events.
In 2015, she wrote another investigation which was also going to be adapted for the screen. This is the article The Hustlers at Scores, adapted in 2019 in Queens with Jennifer Lopez in the lead role. Jessica Pressler’s work is even nominated for the prestigious National Magazine Award.
The character of the boyfriend
In the series, Chase Sikorski, Anna’s boyfriend, plays an important role for much of the plot. However, his character is mainly fantasized for the series. In the original article by Jessica Pressler, it is indeed a question of a boyfriend, presented as a rather influential man who attends conferences.
Only, even today, little information makes it possible to really identify this man. His name and functions have never been disclosed. He has therefore never set up a start-up called Wake and most of his actions in the series are fictitious.
VIP visits in prison
Vivan Kent repeatedly visits Rikers Prison to interrogate Anna. The latter makes numerous mentions of VIP treatment for meetings with the media. In reality, journalists can, if they wish, speak to inmates, but it is not as easy as in the series. A request can take several months to be accepted.
Anna and her regrets
In Inventing Anna, the attitude of the con man is casual, even when she is in prison. She explains that she is not sorry and that she regrets the way certain things have happened. In 2019, the year of her judgment, the real Anna Sorokin did, however, feel remorse, explaining that she felt ashamed of her victims.
The trip to Germany
In episode 8, the Manhattan Magazine journalist leaves for Germany to continue her investigation. She wants to meet Anna’s parents to understand where she comes from. In reality, it was Anna Sorokin herself who organized this trip to postpone her, telling her where to visit. The parents of the culprit were also aware of this visit.
If we trust the series, the parents of Anna Sorokin seem very distant with their daughter and struggle to understand her motivations. However, in the real story, the parents of the scammer were very supportive. They even wrote letters to the judge to defend her.
A little detour to H&M
Many of the details regarding the trial footage are true. Anna Sorokin took particular care with her outfits and considered these audiences to be veritable fashion shows. However, it was not the journalist who went to H&M to buy her clothes, but an associate who worked with Anna Sorokin’s lawyer. He had $200 for purchases.
Inventing Anna is available on Netflix.