Monica Lewinsky to produce American Crime Story on Clinton scandal
Latest series of hit show will recount White House intern’s affair with president
American Crime Story: Monica Lewinsky is a producer of its series about the Bill Clinton sex scandal. Photograph: Damon Winter/New York Times
Titled Impeachment: American Crime Story, the Ryan Murphy-helmed anthology drama will recount the notorious affair between the then US president and the former White House intern, and the subsequent impeachment proceedings against him by the United States House of Representatives.
The Booksmart star Beanie Feldstein will star as Lewinsky, with Sarah Paulson playing Linda Tripp, the civil servant who secretly recorded phone calls the 22-year-old made about her affair with Clinton, who was 27 years her senior.
The series, which will premiere in September 2020, has been adapted by Murphy from Jeffrey Toobin’s book A Vast Conspiracy: The Real Sex Scandal That Nearly Brought Down a President. Murphy optioned the book in 2017 but shelved plans to bring it to TV last year, as he felt such a project would be “gross” without the contribution of Lewinsky.
In a statement to Vanity Fair, Lewinsky said that she had been hesitant to sign on to the series but was swayed by the opportunity to “reclaim my narrative”.
“People have been co-opting and telling my part in this story for decades,” Lewinsky said. “In fact, it wasn’t until the past few years that I’ve been able to fully reclaim my narrative, almost 20 years later.
“This isn’t just a me problem. Powerful people, often men, take advantage of those subordinate to them in myriad ways all the time. Many people will see this as such a story, and for that reason this narrative is one that is, regretfully, evergreen.”
The chairman of the FX network, John Landgraf, said it would not be contacting Bill and Hillary Clinton for their input.
The Clinton scandal has been the subject of renewed public interest in recent years, following the rise of the #MeToo movement and calls for the impeachment of the current US president, Donald Trump. Last year Lewinsky contributed to the docuseries The Clinton Affair, and the subject also formed the basis of the second season of the popular current-affairs podcast Slow Burn.
American Crime Story has attracted critical acclaim and high ratings for its retellings of landmark events in recent US history. Its first season, 2016’s The People vs OJ Simpson, won nine Emmy awards for its account of the 1994 murder case against the actor and former American football player OJ Simpson.
The drama won a further three Emmys in 2018 for its second season, which recounted the 1997 murder of the fashion designer Gianni Versace. A further series, about the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, had been in production but was scrapped by FX last year. – Guardian