Shondaland Favorites Join Shonda Rhimes' 'Inventing Anna' at Netflix

Jeff Perry and Anna Deavere Smith are among the five latest additions to the limited series.
C Flanigan/FilmMagic; Walter McBride/Getty Images
Jeff Perry, Anna Deavere Smith

Shonda Rhimes continues to look to familiar faces for her forthcoming Netflix limited series Inventing Anna.

Joining the cast of the 10-episode project about con queen Anna Delvey are Scandal and Grey's Anatomy grad Jeff Perry and For the People alum Anna Deavere Smith. They join fellow new additions Arian Moayed (Succession), Anders Holm (Workaholics) and Terry Kinney (Billions).

As previously announced, Emmy winner Julia Garner (Ozark) will star as the woman who conned high society with her lavish lifestyle in the streaming giant's Shondaland-produced effort. Veep's Anna Chlumsky, Scandal's Katie Lowes, Orange Is the New Black's Laverne Cox and The Bold Type's Alexis Floyd also star.

With Thursday's castings, Lowes and Perry will officially stage a Scandal reunion in Inventing Anna. The casting also extends Smith's relationship with Rhimes and Shondaland after the actress starred in two seasons of the ABC drama For the People. Smith is also teaming with Shondaland to adapt her 2010 play The Warmth of Other Suns (based on the Isabel Wilkerson book).

Rhimes created Inventing Anna, based on Jessica Pressler's New York Magazine story "How Anna Delvey Tricked New York's Party People," and will executive produce alongside her Shondaland partner Betsy Beers. David Frankel (The Devil Wears Prada, Band of Brothers) will direct two episodes, including the pilot. Pressler will produce the series, which will film in New York.

Here is Netflix's formal series description: "In Inventing Anna, a journalist (Chlumsky) with a lot to prove investigates the case of Anna Delvey (Garner), the Instagram-legendary German heiress who stole the hearts of New York’s social scene — and stole their money as well. But is Anna New York’s biggest con woman or is she simply the new portrait of the American dream? Anna and the reporter form a dark, funny love-hate bond as Anna awaits trial and our reporter fights the clock to answer the biggest question in NYC: Who is Anna Delvey?"

Here are character descriptions for the castings announced Thursday:

Moayed will play Todd, Anna's (Garner) lawyer, who is a fast-talking family man with working class-roots. Given the high-profile nature of the case and his need to earn the respect of his legal peers, Todd needs Anna just as much as she needs him. 

Holm is set as Jack, Vivian’s (Chlumsky) husband. Supportive with a dry sense of humor, Jack is in sync with his wife in ways that make them lovable even when they annoy each other. But Jack finds it harder and harder to be in sync with Vivian as she grows more in danger of succumbing to her obsession with Anna. 

Smith will play Maud, who climbed to the top of her field alone as the only woman in the room. But now she’s sidelined because the idiots who run the magazine aren’t old enough to remember what a brilliant journalist she is. Maud is sharp, funny and often too blunt, but her helpful, honest nature makes up for that.

Perry (who also worked with Rhimes on Grey's Anatomy) will play Lou. Described as smarter than you, kinder than most, Lou is the unofficial king of Scriberia — the group of writers at the magazine deemed too old and out of touch to do “real work” and yet  too esteemed to fire. Lou’s personal life is a mess, but his awards keep him warm.

Kinney will play Barry, a war correspondent with no war to cover. Barry is a Scriberian by choice — he’d rather wither than cover pop culture. Sarcastic, charming, with a dark sense of humor and sharp tongue, Barry has no problem saying what no one else is willing to say.

Inventing Anna is one of multiple projects Rhimes has in the works after signing a nine-figure overall deal with Netflix. The first show under the deal — the soap Bridgerton — is set to debut in 2020. A premiere date for Inventing Anna has not been determined.