“Ozark” and “Inventing Anna”: Julia Garner as a Con Artist
I had never seen Julia Garner in any show until I watched “Ozark,” and I was completely blown away by her performance. So, when I was told the same actress was playing the title character in “Inventing Anna,” a Netflix show about real-life con artist Anna Delvey, I knew I had to watch it. Before starring in “Ozark” and “Inventing Anna,” Garner played Susan in the movie “The Perks of Being a Wallflower.” She is Jewish and describes herself as being “half-Israeli,” as she has relatives from Israel whom she visits often. And, fun fact, she is married to singer Mark Foster from the band Foster the People.
While the two roles she plays in “Ozark” and “Inventing Anna” are very different, they have more in common than you might initially think. In “Ozark,” Garner plays the character Ruth Langmore, a role which earned her two Primetime Emmy Awards in 2019 and 2020 for Outstanding Actress in a Drama Series, along with a Golden Globe nomination in 2020. Ruth comes from poverty, but uses her tremendous intelligence to first get involved in crime, but then to start her own businesses. Her personality is impressive and intimidating, and she is good at adapting to new situations and problems. As this character is fictional, Julia Garner had more creative freedom to shape the character she was playing.
In the new show “Inventing Anna,” Garner plays the adaptation of Anna Delvey, a smart fake heiress who dresses glamorously, but was imprisoned for stealing money and not paying off her debts. She presented herself as a different person to everyone she spoke to, and this was adapted very well into the show. This character, of course, is based on the real person Anna Sorokin, and the show was adapted from the article, “How Anna Delvey Tricked New York’s Party People” by Jessica Pressler, published by The Cut.
While one show is pure fiction and the other is based on real facts, Julia Garner is able to fully embody both roles. It makes me curious if it was a deliberate casting choice due to the similarities in the characters she was portraying. Both characters are intelligent, adaptable, and money-driven criminals trying to make a name for themselves in a world they have very little experience with. In addition Garner’s characters are tremendously charismatic. At some points it is hard not to root for them as they make a better life for themselves, even as the means to such a life are deplorable.
Scams like the one at the center of “Inventing Anna” are clearly in the public consciousness. Indeed, in the era of the popular show “Tinder Swindler” on Netflix, it seems like people are more and more fascinated by these tales of high -profile crimes where the extremely wealthy are taken advantage of. It is fascinating to see the comparisons between these female scammers like Delvey and male scammers on shows like “Tinder Swindler,” and to also examine the differences between stories of scammers in the real world and the completely fictional scammers on TV. The question that remains is: why are we so captivated by these stories of glamorized scams?