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Featured Story of the Week: The Mystery Behind Anastasia and Anna Anderson


In honor of our new mobile feature, “Featured Stories” we’re shining the spotlight on one of history’s most interesting tales. It involves princesses, and people who say they are princesses, but probably aren’t. If there’s a story that deserves to be brought to the big screen we think it’s this one!

The Great Unsolved Mystery

Our story was considered the great unsolved mystery of its century and it began with the death of Russian Tsar Nicholas II and his family in 1918, and the missing body of the youngest daughter, Grand Duchess Anastasia Romanov. The bodies of her 3 sisters were found not long after the massacre of the royal family.

The location of Anastasia’s body, however, was unknown until 2007, which left many to wonder for almost 100 years: is Anastasia still alive? Did the Grand Duchess escape from the terrible fate her family met?

Several women claimed to be her, only to be denied by distant Romanov family.

Grand Duchess Anastasia Romanova via Russian Personalities

The Impostor or the Princess?

One woman, Anna Anderson, was the best known of all the impostors who claimed to be Anastasia. Through media coverage, her claim became notorious. While relatives of the Romanov family did not believe her, the public truly began to see Anna as the Grand Duchess.

It was reported that there were strange similarities between Anderson and Anastasia: they were said to have the same foot deformity, Anna had scars on her body that she said had been caused by gunshots and bayonets, and she spoke English, French and German, and could understand Russian.

Supporters of Anna, including a childhood friend of Anastasia’s, a cousin, and the son of the Romanov court’s doctor, said she knew things only the real Grand Duchess would know.

Resolution in 2007

Through private investigations, it was eventually proven that Anna was previously a Polish factory worker that was hospitalized in a mental institution. Later on after her death, DNA also proved she was not Anastasia. After the Grand Duchess’s remains were found in 2007, DNA tests concluded it was her and she was killed along with her family.

Who Can Portray Anna Anderson?

The story is still intriguing today: why did so many people believe Anna Anderson? Did she believe it herself? Here at The IF List, we think this real life event makes for a great story on film, which of course, leads us to dream cast the notorious Anna!

Screen Shot 2015-05-13 at 4.23.39 PM

Sarah Paulson proposed for Anna Anderson

Sarah Paulson is our top pick to play Anna. If you’ve seen her portrayal of the character Lana Winters on the FX series American Horror Story: Asylum we’re sure you’d agree! The audience needs to truly question if Anna Anderson is completely aware of what she’s doing, or if she really believes she’s royalty and Paulson is the actress that can make it happen. An unconvincing performance would leave the story hollow and uninteresting.

What Do You Think?

Do you think Anna Anderson’s story should be told on screen? Who else could portray the infamous Anastasia impostor? Leave a comment and make your proposals on The IF List! >>

3 Responses to “Featured Story of the Week: The Mystery Behind Anastasia and Anna Anderson”

  1. Caleb Gee

    I’ve always wanted for there to be a real biographical film of Anna Anderson’s life, one that isn’t made into a fantasy or a love story like the 1956 and 1997 Hollywood versions.

    Liked by 1 person


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