TV

Shonda Rhimes’ Anna Delvey Netflix Series Promises to Be the Next “Fyre Festival”

There's a peculiar satisfaction to watching a scam crash and burn.

Producer extraordinaire Shonda Rhimes has just finalized the main cast for a new show about Soho scammer Anna Delvey, and fans are already obsessed.

The show will follow the years-long scam led by Russian-born Anna Sorokin, a woman who told everyone her name was Anna Delvey and ingratiated herself into the New York social elite by pretending she had access to a fake trust fund. She convinced people to lend her indefinite loans and spent exorbitant amounts of money that she gained through a series of intricate lies. Of course, like the best scams, it fell to pieces; in May 2019, she was convicted to four years in prison.

CBS News

Delvey will be played by Emmy-winning Julia Garner, who starred as the fiery Ruth on Ozark. Judging by her performance on that show, she'll be able to perfectly embody Delvey's trickster mentality and charm.

Veep's Anna Chlumsky will star as a journalist determined to capture Delvey's story. Her character will probably be based on Jessica Pressler, the journalist who wrote the definitive New York Magazine story about Delvey's endeavors. Laverne Cox plays a celebrity trainer who gets sucked into Delvey's world. The show will also feature Alexis Floyd as a hotel concierge whom Anna tricks with her charm and Katie Lowes as a woman whose relationship with Anna becomes an obsession.

Another Day, Another Scammer

"It started with money, as it so often does in New York," Pressler's essay begins. In the era of Donald Trump, the Kardashians, and Fyre Festival, it seems like we collectively can't get enough of scammers. We love to learn about people who force their way into the spotlight through non-traditional mechanisms and webs of lies.

But why does Anna Delvey need a TV show that gives her even more fame and attention, one that promises to glorify her high-flying lifestyle even as it portrays its inevitable combustion? Perhaps it's because Delvey is living a new sort of American Dream (or maybe she's living what the American Dream always was—a scam).

Regardless, Delvey's story is very much of the moment, very indicative of what it's like to live under late capitalism in a world where money and confidence are keys to success. "The way Anna spent money, it was like she couldn't get rid of it fast enough," reads the article. "Her room was overflowing with shopping bags from Acne and Supreme, and in between meetings, she'd invite Neff to foot massages, cryotherapy, manicures." This could be excerpt out of a postmodern novel, as could the whole story, full of unnecessary products that no one really needs. It's going to look beautiful on TV.

Just like we can't get enough of products, it seems we can't get enough of scammers and their stories. "Anna looked at the soul of New York and recognized that if you distract people with shiny objects, with large wads of cash, with the indicia of wealth, if you show them the money, they will be virtually unable to see anything else," the seminal article finishes. Apparently the same goes for us, and TV: Distract us with an intoxicating scam, make us think we're outsmarting the capitalist system we're actually buying into, and you have a hit, or possibly a president. I, for one, will inevitably be tuning in.


Beyoncé in "Black Is King"

Beyoncé has released Black Is King, and as usual, her work is subtly shifting the world and inspiring millions.

The musical film dropped today on Disney+. It's a visual companion to 2019's The Lion King: The Gift, an album inspired by last year's remake of The Lion King, in which Beyoncé starred as Nala. The moment it released at 12AM PT, fans lost it with excitement.


Black Is King is rooted in Black history. "History is your future," Beyoncé says prophetically toward the beginning. "One day you will meet yourself back where you started, but stronger." The film is studded with references to African history, portraying the lives of African royalty.


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FILM

"Hustlers" Could Be the Best Movie of the Summer

STX Entertainment is about to rob us of our money and, honestly, I'm okay with that.

JLO STEP ON MY NECK

James Devaney/Getty Images

Jennifer Lopez, Constance Wu, Julia Stiles, Keke Palmer, Lili Reinhart, Lizzo, and Cardi B are coming for our necks, y'all.

After weeks of teasing us, the first full length trailer for Hustlers is here. Watch below:

Hustlers | Official Trailer [HD] | In Theaters September 2019 www.youtube.com

The film, inspired by writer Jessica Presser's article, "The Hustlers at Scores," for New York Magazine, is about a group of strip club workers who decide to rob their deep-pocketed, greedy Wall Street clients after the 2008 market-crash. The too-good-to-be-true story follows Constance Wu's character, Destiny, as she looks for a life that allows her to take care of her grandma and "maybe go shopping every once in awhile." After Crazy Rich Asians, Hustlers appears to be the kind of "artistically challenging" role the actress has been looking for. Although, in the trailer at least, Jennifer Lopez outshines the rest of the star-studded cast as the seasoned matriarch of the stripper clan. The Academy should be prepared to finally give the triple threat the Oscar she deserves (Lopez was robbed for Selena. Yeah, I said it).

With Hustlers, writer-director Lorene Scafari—of Nick and Nora's Infinite Playlist and Seeking a Friend for The End of The World fame—decided to take on real women's stories instead of doing another reboot, and she had very specific stars in mind to make it happen. The screenwriter chased after stripper-turned-rap-sensation, Cardi B, and breakout star, Lizzo, for over a year to get them involved in the project. Before her screenplay was completed, the director envisioned Cardi B in the role of Diamond, elaborating for IndieWire, "I think musicians and singers, performers, they're just naturally very great at timing and rhythm and they just kind of are natural-born actors," She continued, "Lizzo, she comes with so much personality, Cardi comes with so much personality. I wanted to write them characters that showed off their personalities, but I also wanted to make sure that they still felt like they were part of the world and part of the ensemble and that nobody's sticking out and everybody is still existing in the same movie."

In the midst of a summer bummer at the box office, Hustlers gives us hope that the season will end on a high note. Scafaria seems to balance the film's big budget, star-studded appearances with the style and technique of a woman with a vision—and it's a delight to witness. Hopefully, the movie will live up to the trailer.