Interview: Alexis Floyd talks Inventing Anna, playing Neff, and working with Julia Garner

production still from Inventing Anna
Alexis Floyd stars as Neff in Inventing Anna. Pic credit: Netflix

Shonda Rhimes’ latest crime drama Inventing Anna has dominated the Netflix platform since its February 11 release. Now, almost a month later, the show still finds itself trending in the Top 5 list of the platform.

But what makes the show so addicting? Is it the mysterious real-life subject, is it the star-studded ensemble cast? Or perhaps, its the all-star production team. Monsters and Critics had the opportunity to chat with Alexis Floyd, the actor behind Anna Delvey’s friend, Neff Davis.

Like a handful of first-time viewers, Floyd wasn’t familiar with the New York-based con artist. “When I got the script, the first thing I did was head to Google. It didn’t take me long to realize I had stumbled upon something extraordinary. I remember that first night, I must have been up until four or five in the morning trying to read everything I could get my hands on.”

The actor went on to describe that Delvey, also known as Anna Sorokin, has developed a cult following, referencing the various forums and fanfiction websites dedicated to her. “She has been psychoanalyzed and explored by so many people in so many different cultural corners and artistic spaces. I found myself intrigued by Anna, who seemed almost like this mythical figure.”

We went on to chat about the misconceptions surrounding her polarizing character, the challenges she faced playing a real-life person, and her experience building chemistry with leading actor Julia Garner.

Monsters and Critics: What was it like working with Shonda Rhimes who is such a trailblazer in the entertainment industry?

Alexis Floyd: She is a trailblazer, and then she’s a Kingdom Builder. She’s created an empire of art in the television space that is so uniquely hers. She’s created a community of artists that she remains so faithful to and celebratory of, and has created almost this home for them. Just knowing that someone who has built a cornerstone for themselves in the industry has a seat for you at their table, it changes the way you move in the world. I am forever grateful for the way she’s absolutely changed my life.

M&C: What is the biggest misconception about your character, Neff?

Alexis Floyd: Anna has incredible respect for Neff. She has built real trust in Neff. In the show and in real life, she is the only, really, individual who is scammed by Anna but is immediately paid back in cash. I think that’s extraordinary and she is inviting her to participate in these lifestyle experiences that Neff has always been shut out of. It’s really validating and affirming of the the artistic individual that Neff is and the contribution that she has to make independently of Anna. She hopes to tell the world a story through her filmmaking and that’s something that Anna sees and celebrates.

production still from Inventing Anna
Pic credit: Netflix

M&C: What are some of the challenges you faced while playing a real-life person and knowing the sensitivity of the topic?

Alexis Floyd: First and foremost, I wanted to honor Neff. I wanted to honor her poise. I wanted to honor this self confidence that she really exudes in every room she enters. She’s one of those people who pulls you in, rather than going out to meet you. She really stands her ground and it pulls you towards her. I thought that was extraordinary and rooted in a woman who really knows and respects herself, and a woman whose worth comes from within as opposed to external sources or external validation. I wanted those qualities to be clear because the story is asking us lots of questions about what’s true and what’s not.

M&C: What was it like building that chemistry with Julia Garner?

Alexis Floyd: Julia is an artist, she’s one of a kind, she’s exceptional. She’s so present. She’s so surprising. She’s so engaging and then she also just really loves what she does. It was so fun to geek out with her. She was warm and welcoming from day one. She also has some Cleveland connections, which is where I’m from, so it was really a dream come true. I couldn’t have asked for a better scene partner.

Inventing Anna is streaming on Netflix.

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