Arian Moayed on 'Inventing Anna,' Meeting Todd Spodek and Those Courtroom Scenes (Exclusive)

Arian Moayed

The 'Succession' breakout star talks about stealing scenes as Anna Delvey's lawyer in the true-crime series.

After garnering breakout attention for his role as Stewy Hosseini on creator Jesse Armstrong’s HBO drama, Succession, Arian Moayed has joined another high-profile series, Inventing Anna, creator Shonda Rhimestrue-crime drama about Anna Delvey, the convicted fraudster popularly known as the Fake German Heiress. Moayed, the 41-year-old actor who was also recently seen in Love Life and Spider-Man: No Way Home, talks to ET about his scene-stealing performance as Delvey’s no-nonsense lawyer, Todd Spodek, and having to perform his big courtroom scenes in front of his real-life counterpart.

Initially hired when Delvey, portrayed here by Julia Garner, was first arrested for not paying for an outstanding hotel bill, Spodek is eventually tasked with defending her against multiple larceny charges related to her attempt to secure a $20 million loan for her elite club, the Anna Delvey Foundation (ADF), as well as sticking one of her friends with a $60,000 bill after failing to pay for their lavish trip to Morocco. 

Unlike members of New York society, the city’s high-end hotels and restaurants, or even the bank executives who fall under the guise of this German heiress, her lawyer was not enchanted by any of that. “Todd is the only one in the show who doesn’t give a f**k about the whole backstory of Anna Delvey,” Moayed says, noting that at one point he tells his client, “I’ve worked with a lot of f**king criminals and you are above average at best.”  

“So, Todd doesn’t really need to kiss her in any way. He needs to f**king win this thing,” the actor continues.

While audiences meet Spodek early on, after he’s deep into preparing for Delvey’s trial, it’s not until the final episode that they get to see him at work in the courtroom, where he’s determined to get his client off by portraying her as someone who never really had a chance at making it to the top. And this is when Moayed truly gets to shine. 


“I knew from the jump that basically the last episode would be the courtroom,” Moayed says, knowing that it would be the culmination of all this built-up tension surrounding Delvey, who no one has told off or put in her place up until this point. “No one was telling her off. No one was like, ‘Stop.’” 

The defense, not surprisingly, doesn’t align with Delvey’s allusions about herself and what she believes she’s achieved as a businesswoman. Yet, Spodek, knowing that it’s the only way to get her off, moves forward with it anyway. “At the end of the day, he was trying to make sure that he could get her out of there quickly,” Moayed says. 

In addition to some truly passionate, heart-to-heart moments shared between Moayed and Garner, the actor also gets to rip into some of the other characters, notably Rachel Williams (Katie Lowes), while they’re on the witness stand. And it was actually the day that Spodek was cross-examining Williams when Moayed’s real-life counterpart showed up for filming. 

“I was like, ‘Dude, you couldn’t come another f**king day?’” the actor recalls, explaining that the episode as a whole was so “Todd heavy, like every day was another massive scene.” But the lawyer showed up on that particular day and watched Moayed rip into Lowes. “In some of the takes that we see, he is sitting in the back pews.” 


In between takes, the actor went up to the lawyer, who also appears on-camera in the HBO docuseries Generation Hustle, to ask him what he thought of his performance. “His eyes bulged out of his head and you could tell that it was, like, eerily similar to what the vibe of it was,” Moayed recalls, while also noting the great lengths the series went to in order to accurately recreate the setting. “That room looked like that room. The guards looked like those guards.”

While Moayed got to meet Spodek during filming, the actor says he didn’t spend any time with him beforehand because his focus was on the courtroom transcripts provided to him by the Shondaland team ahead of time. “I didn’t even mean to, but I just started consuming the transcripts,” he says, explaining that’s where he gleaned much of the character.

“I started realizing how he objects, when he objects, when he interrupts, when he’s making jokes. I was just fascinated by the charisma of the actual Todd. So, that’s kind of the DNA of him,” he says. 

But the best part for Moayed, who instantly jumped at the chance to work with Rhimes, was the fun he had getting “to play with Shonda’s and the writing team’s magic.” While the actor latched on to some earlier moments that the character shared with his wife, played by Caitlin FitzGerald, or even Garner, he just loves how everything came together in the end.

“I’m so in love with that last episode, how it was written and edited together,” Moayed says. "I really am proud of that.”

Inventing Anna is now streaming on Netflix.