American Crime Story continues to turn back time as the anthology series executive produced by Ryan Murphy revisits true events that shaped the American landscape. Following The People vs. O.J. Simpson and The Assassination of Gianni Versace, the third season depicts the 1998 impeachment trial of President Bill Clinton.
According to FX, the series will go inside the national scandal that made Monica Lewinsky, Linda Tripp and Paula Jones key figures in the country’s first impeachment proceedings in over a century. Based on Jeffrey Toobin’s bestselling book, A Vast Conspiracy: The Real Story of the Sex Scandal That Nearly Brought Down a President, the Washington, D.C.-set installment will be written and executive produced by Sarah Burgess with Lewinsky also serving as a producer.
Just like the first two installments, Impeachment: American Crime Story features an all-star ensemble. This time, it’s led by Beanie Feldstein, who portrays Lewinsky; returning ACS actresses Sarah Paulson as Tripp and Annaleigh Ashford as Jones; and Clive Owen as the 42nd president.
While speaking with ET, Feldstein praised Paulson, who won an Emmy for her portrayal of Marcia Clark on the first season of American Crime Story. “Sarah Paulson is my favorite actor of all time,” Feldstein said. “So to get to stand toe-to-toe with her as Monica Lewinsky and Linda Tripp is going to be a ride of a lifetime.”
Because of the coronavirus pandemic, filming of Impeachment was pushed back to the fall of 2020. Instead of premiering ahead of the presidential election, the new season is now expected to make its debut on FX sometime in 2021. Until then, check out who is playing who in what’s set to be the most timely and provocative installment yet.
Beanie Feldstein as Monica Lewinsky
At the center of the scandal is the 22-year-old White House intern, who engaged in a sexual relationship with the president between 1995 and 1997 and whose world was turned upside down once it became public.
“I am so, so honored to be portraying [Lewinsky],” Feldstein told The Daily Beast about the part. “And to be doing it with Ryan Murphy is out of my wildest dreams. He is sort of the king of television, and his work is so profound.” She also added that she’s “honored to be a part of bringing this story to light right now, and hopefully getting to frame her in a completely new way for the next generation.”
Sarah Paulson as Linda Tripp
A key player in the scandal is Tripp, who worked alongside Lewinsky at the Pentagon. She became known as the whistleblower after she started recording her conversations with Lewinsky, who confided in Tripp about her relationship with the president.
When it comes to portraying Tripp, Paulson told The Hollywood Reporter that she’s “going to take about three months off to eat some food, because I’m going to gain some weight to play her.” The actress also shared some insight on how she plans to approach the mindset of her character. “There’s no way for me to approach playing her as a way of thinking how to redeem her. I don’t know that it’s redeemable, some of what she did to her friend,” she said, adding: “But I’m not going to be looking for a way to make her likable — I don’t really like to do anything like that. I’m not worried if people like me as Linda Tripp. That’s not my job.”
In November, once the season started principle photography, Paulson shared a first look at her in costume.
Annaleigh Ashford as Paula Jones
Jones is a former Arkansas state employee who sued Clinton for sexual harassment. While the two eventually agreed on an $850,000 settlement, it was during the case’s deposition that counsel believed Clinton perjured himself, which led to his impeachment.
After a small role as Elizabeth Cote in The Assassination of Gianni Versace, Ashford will portray one of the three women at the center of the Clinton-Lewinsky scandal.
Clive Owen as President Bill Clinton
Owen, who will return to TV for the first time since starring on The Knick, takes on the president.
After famously saying he “did not have sexual relations with that woman” while under oath, Clinton was charged with perjury and impeached by the House of Representatives. He was eventually acquitted on all impeachment charges of perjury and obstruction of justice by the Senate.
Billy Eichner as Matt Drudge
Eichner is playing Drudge Report creator and editor Matt Drudge, who famously broke the news of an affair in the White House.
“Truly an honor to join Sarah Paulson, Beanie Feldstein, Clive Owen and more in American Crime Story: Impeachment,” the actor wrote on Twitter following news of his addition to the cast.
Betty Gilpin as Ann Coulter
The GLOW actress is taking on the conservative media pundit, who authored the 1998 book, High Crimes and Misdemeanors: The Case Against Bill Clinton, which covers controversies surrounding Lewinsky, Jones and others. Prior to her career on cable news, Coulter served as a legal adviser for Jones’ attorneys in her sexual harassment suit against Clinton.
Taran Killam as Steve Jones
The former Saturday Night Live actor is reportedly appearing opposite as Ashford as Paula Jones’ husband Steve, who she first met in 1989 while living in Little Rock, Arkansas. While not officially confirmed by FX, Killam has been spotted filming scenes in Los Angeles.
While the full cast of characters hasn’t been announced, it’s expected that major figures in the Clinton-Lewinsky scandal will be portrayed in the series. Among them are Hillary Clinton, who is opening up about her side of things in the Hulu docuseries Hillary; Attorney General Janet Reno, who was recently played by Jane Lynch in another true-crime series; chief Pentagon spokesman Kenneth Bacon; Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr; literary agent Lucianne Goldberg and more.
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