Ryan Murphy’s done it again. The producer who gave global audiences true crime gems like The People vs. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story and The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story is gifting fans with yet another installment, this time about Bill Clinton’s 1998 impeachment called…well, Impeachment.
Like the show’s first two awards-drenched seasons, Impeachment: American Crime Story will air on FX, with a storyline adapted from Jeffrey Toobin’s book, Vast Conspiracy: The Real Story of the Sex Scandal That Nearly Brought Down a President.
Impeachment will "explore the overlooked dimensions of the women who found themselves caught up in the scandal and political war that cast a long shadow over the Clinton Presidency," including the president’s affair with then-White-House-intern Monica Lewinsky, FX CEO John Landgraf said. Lewinsky was even tapped to produce the show (more on that later).
Murphy's decision to center the TV series' third season around Clinton's second presidential term and sex scandal has been in the works for a while. In fact, he and his team have been plotting the details of this season since 2017. After some back and forth (including a brief period when the concept was almost scrapped altogether), the show is moving forward with a stacked cast and a tentative premiere date, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Impeachment will premiere sometime this year…hopefully.
The show was set to begin shooting this month, but filming’s been postponed until March so Murphy can complete his directing job on Prom, the Netflix musical film starring Meryl Streep, per Deadline.
The original plan was to premiere Impeachment on September 27, two months before the November 3 IRL presidential election, but the filming delays have forced the team to reschedule. “We won’t make it by September,” Landgraf announced at a Television Critics Association press tour. “We can’t start [production] until March 21 of this year, and we won’t physically be done until October. So it’s a long production,” Deadline reported.
Given the months-long hold up, you might still get to watch Impeachment by November, after the presidential election, but for now, the exact date is up in the air.
Watch Ryan Murphy discuss his writing and overall creative process:
Now, about that Impeachment cast…
This bears repeating: It’s stacked.
In typical Murphy-fashion, this all-star crew is composed of big names, some you’ve seen in other ACS seasons and some who are new to the franchise, but not your screens.
To play Monica Lewinsky, producers landed on Beanie Feldstein of Olivia Wilde’s Booksmart and Greta Gerwig’s Lady Bird. While she’s not allowed to dish much—or anything, really,—about her role, she has said she’s “really honored” to be a part of the project.
Billy Eichner is set to play Matt Drudge, the reporter who first broke the story about the affair in his Drudge Report. Billy’s previously worked with Murphy on seasons seven and eight of American Horror Story.
Clive Owen is taking on the role of Bill Clinton. The Oscar nominee’s casting was announced last November.
For those of you hoping for an in-depth Hillary Clinton storyline, sorry to break it to ya, but you won’t be getting one. "Hillary is actually not a significant character in Impeachment because it's really told from the point of view of these women who were really far from the center of power," Landgraf revealed to The Hollywood Reporter. However, casting for Hillary is in the works.
One of the points of view the show will focus on is that of Paula Jones. The former state clerk in Arkansas who sued Clinton for sexual harassment in 1994 will be played by Annaleigh Ashford of the TV show's second season, The Assassination of Gianni Versace.
Another prominent character will be Ann Coulter. Betty Gilpin from GLOW will play the conservative media commentator who wrote about the scandal in her 1998 book, High Crimes And Misdemeanors: The Case Against Bill Clinton.
Impeachment will also include a storyline for Linda Tripp played by ACS alum Sarah Paulson. Tripp is responsible for secretly recording phone calls in which Lewinsky admitted to the affair.
Sarah, who won a SAG Award, an Emmy, a Critics Choice Award, and a Golden Globe for her performance in the show's first season, The People vs. O.J. Simpson, has already begun preparations for her role. She’s tried on prosthetics and a pair of teeth, but she doesn’t “know how far we’ll go yet,” she told Deadline.
“I have begun to eat some food. I have committed to begin my portion of doing that. It’s not just about allowing the costume to do everything, but to do what I can physically to try to evoke who she was at the time,” she added.
Ryan Murphy will be working with other producers, including Lewinsky.
Sarah Burgess will write Impeachment as well as executive produce the show with Murphy, Nina Jacobson, Brad Simpson, Brad Falchuk, Larry Karaszewski, Scott Alexander, Alexis Martin Woodall, Hannah Fidell, and Sarah Paulson, according to Deadline.
Feldstein, Henrietta Conrad, and Jemima Khan will produce alongside Lewinsky who Murphy brought on in 2018. He asked Lewinsky to join the show when he ran into her at a party. “I told her, 'Nobody should tell your story but you, and it's kind of gross if they do,” he told THR. “If you want to produce it with me, I would love that; but you should be the producer and you should make all the goddamn money.”
Last August, Lewinsky spoke to Vanity Fair about her producing gig. “I was hesitant, and truthfully more than a little scared to sign on. But after a lengthy dinner meeting with Ryan, I came to understand even more clearly how dedicated he is to giving a voice to the marginalized in all of his brilliant work,” she said.
“People have been co-opting and telling my part in this story for decades," she continued. "In fact, it wasn’t until the past few years that I’ve been able to fully reclaim my narrative; almost 20 years later.”
You can watch Impeachment a few ways.
If you’ve got cable, you’re in luck. Just flip to FX every weeknight the show is set to air, or log into the FX website or the FXNOW app on your phone or smart TV with your cable provider to watch.
Don’t have cable? No worries. Well, as long as you’ve got Hulu. Starting March 2, FX shows will be available to stream on Hulu, too. If you don’t have either of these, you can bet Netflix, Youtube TV, and Amazon Prime will offer Impeachment in its entirety a few months after it's aired.
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