“Inventing Anna” Star Julia Garner Covers Town & Country Magazine

Posted on January 19, 2022

In “Inventing Anna,” Julia Garner plays a grifter who scammed her way into life among the Manhattan elite. Offscreen, the actress has figured out a way to make it without having to fake it at all. In the February issue of Town & Country, Garner sits down with Chloe Malle and shares how she prepared for the role of Anna Delvey by visiting her in prison, how the character became so entrenched in Garner’s psyche that she was sleep-talking in Delvey’s accent, and what she hopes people take from the show: “People don’t necessarily have to agree with what she did, but I want to help people try to understand why she did it. I’m curious what Anna’s going to think about me portraying her.”

 

 

On visiting Albion Correctional Facility, the prison outside Buffalo, New York, where Anna Delvey was being held and discovering someone different from whom she expected: “She’s actually really sweet. She was extremely charming. She’s very gentle. But then her voice gets less soft-spoken when she wants something.”

On how Delvey wanted to hear the accent Garner had prepared to play her: “She’s like, ‘Please, let me hear it,’” says Garner, who began parroting whatever Delvey said in the German-inflected accent she had honed with her dialect coach. (Delvey was born in Russia, grew up in Germany, learned British English, then mimicked American English by watching shows like Gossip Girl.) “It got very meta.”

On what she learned from visiting Delvey in prison: “I wanted to see if she had any remorse about what happened, or time to reflect.” But the inmate [Delvey] replied, “I don’t really have that much time to think.” Instead, Delvey is keeping busy with tailoring classes and lessons in what she calls “stupid culinary arts.” Garner recounts this while sitting in Sadelle’s, the Disneyfied delicatessen on West Broadway where Delvey once hosted a birthday party and skipped out on the bill. “I kind of love that about her, in a sick way,” Garner admits. “She’s in a full jumpsuit saying, ‘I’m obviously not going to make myself food when I get out of jail.’”

On playing Delvey and Ruth Langmore, her character on Ozark, at the same time due to pandemic scheduling, and what the two characters have in common: “I really made sure that the script supervisor had an eye on my accent during that period of time. Playing those two parts at the same time was probably the hardest thing I’ve had to do in my life. Those are not easy women… They don’t think and then act, they act and then think. Ruth would see through Anna right away.”

On what Garner has in common with Delvey: “She’s a big dreamer, and I would consider myself a dreamer. In the business that we’re in, you have to be.”

On how taking acting classes as a teenager helped her conquer shyness spurred by learning disabilities and childhood epilepsy: “When I think about it, I’ve been acting my whole life. My listening skills were enhanced, because I couldn’t understand what people were saying.”

On becoming so entrenched in Delvey’s psyche that she found her nerves getting frayed: “When I really know the character, I start feeling all their feelings…My anxiety was through the roof, and I realized it was because Anna had really bad anxiety.” Garner even started sleep-talking in her Delvey accent. “My husband was like, ‘This has gotten out of control.’”

On what she wants people to learn from her character and how she is curious about what Delvey will think about her performance: “People don’t necessarily have to agree with what she did, but I want to help people try to understand why she did it. I’m curious what Anna’s going to think about me portraying her.” How might Delvey watch the show while in detention? “Oh,” Garner says, “they for sure have Netflix in jail.”

 

 

[Photo Credit:  Danny Kasirye/Town & Country Magazine]

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