Julia Garner's accent in "Inventing Anna" is jarring to say the least.
Like, it's so shocking, the first episode should have a 5-minute opening scene explaining that this is what the real Anna Delvey sounds like. But since that scene doesn't exist, we feel we must explain the origins of the fake German heiress' unique accent.
The story begins on Jan. 23, 1991 in the Russian village of Domodedevo, where Delvey was born Anna Sorokin. Her parents were two members of the working class, with The Cut article "How Anna Delvey Tricked New York's Party People" (which inspired the series) stating her father was a truck driver and businessman.
Then, in 2007, the Sorokins left Russia for the small German town of Eschweiler, a move that was a huge adjustment for the then-16-year-old Delvey. Her former classmates told the magazine that they remember her being "quiet, with an unwieldy command of German."
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It's unclear if she knew English at this point, but she began learning the language after moving to London to attend Central Saint Martins College. Although, The Cut reports that she dropped out and decided to take a fashion internship in Berlin.
Inventing Anna: First Look Photos
That internship landed her another internship at Purple magazine, which is how she ended up in New York City. How she found herself in a prison cell is Shonda Rhimes' story to tell.
But now that we've mapped her whereabouts, it's easier to understand why the accent is so... different. Garner admitted that it's hard to believe this is what she sounded like but insists she's done her research. "I want everybody to just Google how she sounds," she stated in an interview with Netflix's "Tudum." "I wouldn't allow myself to just go on screen and do a half accent. I'm a perfectionist."
The actress added that it was "definitely the hardest accent" she's had to do, which says a lot considering she plays Ruth Langmore on "Ozark".
To learn Delvey's way of speaking, Garner looked back on the fraudster's history and where she came from. "First, I had to learn a German accent," she explained. "German is very much like a vocal fry at the end of everything. Then I had to incorporate Russian."
Once she had that down, she transitioned to learning the classic American accent, saying, "Then she learns English. People in Europe learn English in the British way. And then she comes to America, and the musicality is not European. So she speaks like an American, and, in America, people end every sentence with a question mark? 'That's what she picked up here, really? What about you? Are you happy?'"
In a separate interview with W Magazine, Garner noted that Delvey "loved to watch 'Gossip Girl'," so that was an influence too.
But the accent is always changing throughout the show, because Delvey was constantly trying to sound more like the people around her. Garner got to see this firsthand when she interviewed Delvey at the Albion Correctional facility in Buffalo, New York. "Her accent was actually a little thicker," Garner told "Tudum" of their encounter. "I think when she was in an American prison, it Americanized it, in a way. Wherever she is, she picks up how everybody's talking."
And if Delvey is particularly stressed, her voice changes too. Garner said, "When people have their walls down and they're emotional or they're tired or they're drunk, their real colors come out. I tried to sound a little more Russian in those scenes because she was emotional."
So, there you have it!
"Inventing Anna" is streaming now on Netflix.