Is Rebel a True Story?

‘Rebel’ is a legal drama series created by Krista Vernoff and stars Katey Sagal (‘Sons of Anarchy’) as Annie “Rebel” Bello, a strong-headed woman who stands against injustice and helps those in need. Annie works as a legal advocate without a law degree and is a feared figure amongst corporations. She fights to make a difference in a society that thrives on taking advantage of the helpless, making her a rebel with many causes.

Annie’s story sounds inspiring yet somewhat surreal. A person willing to risk everything for justice sounds too good to be true in today’s day and age. Does that mean ‘Rebel’ is a fictional story? Or does it have any connections to real events or a true story? Let’s find out.

Is Rebel Based on a True Story?

‘Rebel’ is partially based on a true story. The show is inspired by the life and work of Erin Brockovich. The character of Annie Bello is loosely based on Brockovich. Brockovich is a legal clerk, consumer advocate, and activist who is best known for her role in the Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) litigation. Her life and the particular case have also been the subject of the film ‘Erin Brockovich’ directed by Steven Soderbergh. (It stars Julia Roberts in the eponymous role for which she also won an Academy Award).

Image Credit: Erin Brockovich, Studio10/ YouTube

Born as Erin Pattee on June 22, 1960, in Lawrence, Kansas, Erin Brockovich grew up with four siblings. Her mother was a journalist, while her father was a football player turned industrial engineer. She holds an Associate in Applied Arts degree from Wade College in Dallas, Texas, and also studied electrical engineering but dropped out. She worked as a management trainee for Kmart but quit shortly after joining and won the Miss Pacific Coast beauty pageant in 1981.

Brockovich, a divorced, single mother, was working as a file clerk at the Masry & Vititoe law firm when she stumbled across the medical records, which helped her build a case against PG&E, despite not having any formal education in law or medicine. She continues to fight against social injustice as an activist. Brockovich’s life and subsequent film have inspired many, including the show’s creator, Krista Vernoff.

In a statement given to Deadline, Vernoff said, “The work that Erin Brockovich does in this world is so powerful and so important that it almost defies description. Erin works tirelessly for social, legal, and environmental justice despite the lack of a formal degree. She inspires everyone she meets to become their own heroes, and somehow, she also keeps us laughing. It has been a tremendous honor to get to know Erin and to create a show inspired by her.”

The influence of Brockovich’s life on the show is pretty obvious. However, there is another rebel whose impact is much more understated. Krista Vernoff, who serves as showrunner on ABC’s ‘Grey’s Anatomy‘ and ‘Station 19’, also brought her unique voice to the show. Vernoff revealed that she had always had an affinity towards Brockovich and saw many similarities between herself and the tenacious consumer advocate. Brockovich also noted the similarities between the two, saying, “Krista and I share this common bond in feeling like we don’t always know why we’re getting involved, but it can feel like a calling.”

“Krista is Rebel in her own way,” Brockovich added. Therefore, the show is inspired by the life of the rebellious Brockovich, and it is Vernoff’s efforts to adapt the inspirational aspects of the former woman’s life in the form of an engaging fictional drama that makes the show so unique. Ultimately, ‘Rebel’ is a somewhat fictional drama inspired by a true story of courage, determination, and self-empowerment.

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