- Jacob Shamsian/INSIDER
- Netflix purchased the rights to tell fake heiress Anna Delvey’s life story, two sources tell INSIDER.
- Delvey – whose real name is Anna Sorokin – allegedly scammed New York City’s socialite scene by lying about being a German heiress. She’s currently on trial.
- Netflix is adapting a New York magazine article about the story. It’s not clear what effect the streaming service’s purchase will have on Lena Dunham’s competing HBO project, which is based on a Vanity Fair story.
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Netflix acquired the rights to the life story of fake heiress Anna Delvey, two sources familiar with the deal told INSIDER. The transaction has not been previously reported.
“She does have a contract with Netflix. They bought her life rights,” one of the sources, her lawyer Todd Spodek, told INSIDER.
Netflix is collaborating with Shondaland, the production company founded by Shonda Rhimes, for a project based on a lengthy New York magazine profile of Delvey, whose real name is Anna Sorokin.
That profile, written by the journalist Jessica Pressler, focused on Delvey’s impressive ability to project wealth and power – her tickets of admission to New York’s socialite scene – by posing as a German heiress with a $60 million trust fund.
With her fake identity, she lived a life of luxury allegedly funded by a string of people, companies, and financial institutions who bought her story. Manhattan prosecutors charged her with ten counts of theft, larceny, and attempted theft or larceny. Delvey’s decision to turn down a plea deal set in motion her ongoing trial, which is scheduled to conclude next week.
It’s unclear how much the Netflix deal is worth. A source familiar with its terms said that, if Delvey is convicted, any payment associated with the deal would go to a victims’ fund.
- Jacob Shamsian/INSIDER
Also unclear is whether the agreement will affect HBO’s competing Delvey project, based on the account of Rachel Williams, a former photo editor at Vanity Fair who wrote for the magazine about her ill-fated travels with Delvey. It’s unlikely to pose a serious obstacle, however, because cinematic depictions of public figures usually don’t require securing their life rights.
The details of Delvey’s finances remain murky. Spodek told jurors said that his client didn’t have “a dollar to her name” when she sought loans from financial institutions in 2017. Spodek declined to say how he’s getting paid for his work.
Whether jurors convict or exonerate Delvey, she is almost certainly destined for Germany. A representative for US Immigration and Customs Enforcement told INSIDER that she overstayed her visa in the United States, and that it intends to deport her once legal proceedings wrap up.
Spodek said he’s confident Delvey will “continue to do great things” after the trial. “This was a smart woman who knocked down doors. Those doors were not open on their own,” he told INSIDER. “I’m sure someone with a background like this will continue on to do great things.”
Clarification: The headline for this article originally said that Netflix is paying Delvey directly for the rights to her life story. The payment would go to a victims’ fund if Delvey is convicted.
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