We’re in a golden age of grifter TV, with Amanda Seyfried as blood-test scammer Elizabeth Holmes in The Dropout, and the shocking Netflix rom-con doc The Tinder Swindler. Not to mention Inventing Anna, the Neftlix/Shonda Rhimes telling of the story of Anna Delvey (AKA Sorokin), the fake heiress who scammed her way through Manhattan society. She’s also inspired a book, a podcast, a play, and an art installation. Don’t read your reviews – weigh them.
The mother of invention
Inventing Anna is based on a 2018 New York magazine article by Jessica Pressler. In 2019, another Pressler piece was turned into Lorene Scafaria’s film Hustlers, about a group of strippers who stripped their wealthy clients of their assets. Jennifer Lopez was excellent as the hustler-in-chief.
Jenny and Benny from the block
J-Lo is on a good run, not least in the reboot of her “Bennifer” relationship with Ben Affleck. The original 2000s iteration is revisited in the new podcast Just Like Us. Before Bennifer, there was Paltfleck (not an actual title), when he dated Gwyneth Paltrow, whom he met when they starred in Shakespeare in Love.
Hollywood royalty she may be – Steven Spielberg is her godfather – but Paltrow had to start somewhere, and this included an uncredited cameo in John Singleton’s 1995 campus drama Higher Learning. The film is flawed, but it has an impressive ensemble cast with Omar Epps, Ice Cube, Kristy Swanson, Jennifer Connelly, Laurence Fishburne and Michael Rapaport.
Summer of scam
In 2000, Rapaport was in Spike Lee’s provocative blackface satire, Bamboozled. A year earlier, Lee made Summer of Sam, about serial killer David Berkowitz – AKA Son of Sam. Fast forward several decades, and you get to Netflix’s Inventing Anna deal. Sorokin was reportedly paid $320,000 for her life story, although New York’s Son of Sam law was invoked, which stops convicted criminals profiting from publicity about their misdeeds. Most of the money has been paid out to her victims.
Eat SoHo’s high-end Le Coucou was Delvey’s “routing dinner spot”, and bourride – a fish stew with aioli – her go-to dish. Taste the grift!