Impeachment: American Crime Story” tells a story that Americans already know. Or think they know.
The ten-episode series airing on FX focuses on President Bill Clinton’s affair with White House intern Monica Lewinsky and the media circus and impeachment proceedings that followed. Lewinsky herself is an executive producer. “Impeachment” is the third installment of the “American Crime Story” anthology series. Previous installments focused on the O.J. Simpson trial and the murder of Gianni Versace.
“Impeachment” features a star-studded cast. Here are the actors bringing new life to the real people they’re portraying.
Monica & Bill
Born in 1993, Feldstein was just four years old when the Lewinsky-Clinton scandal made headlines. She’s old enough to vaguely remember her parents discussing the story but young enough to have formed her own opinions about Lewinsky.
“I feel like I’m in between the two perspectives that I take note of in our world right now. There’s the younger generation who only really knows Monica from her incredible TED Talk and all of her anti-shaming, anti-bullying work. Every young person I meet is over the moon talking about Monica. And then there’s the older generation who lived through all the misogyny and the way she was portrayed at the time and had a different view of what was happening,” Feldstein told USA Today.
Academy Award nominee Clive Owen is nearly unrecognizable as President Bill Clinton. The English actor was surprised to be courted for the role, as he doesn’t look or sound like the former president.
“Unfortunately, I haven’t got the same shaped face as him at all, really,” Owen told ET Canada. “I didn’t want to be buried in prosthetics because I find that super distracting. So we were able to find something that was sort of in the middle that was a gesture of him, and not be totally drowned and hidden behind a sort of false face.”
Owen wears a prosthetic forehead and nose for “Impeachment.”
Hillary, Linda, & Paula
Emmy Award winner Edie Falco plays Hillary Clinton. In the trailer, Falco can be seen throwing a vase of flowers at someone. Clinton was criticized in the media for staying with her husband after the affair.
“Impeachment” executive producer Brad Simpson says he doesn’t think the former First Lady will be tuning in. “I don’t imagine she will watch, no matter how empathetic we are to her,” Simpson said during a Television Critics Association panel.
Sarah Paulson has starred in nine out of ten seasons of “American Horror Story.” She also played prosecutor Marcia Clark in “The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story.” In “Impeachment,” she plays Linda Tripp, who secretly recorded phone calls with her then-friend Lewsinky in which the young intern admitted to a relationship with the president.
Paulson wears a fat suit in the series, which has stirred up some controversy. Paulson herself says she wouldn’t accept a role that requires wearing a fat suit again.
“I think the thing I think about the most is that I regret not thinking about it more fully. And that is an important thing for me to think about and reflect on. I also know it’s a privileged place to be sitting and thinking about it and reflecting on it, having already gotten to do it, and having had an opportunity that someone else didn’t have. You can only learn what you learn when you learn it. Should I have known? Abso-f—ing-lutely. But I do now. And I wouldn’t make the same choice going forward,” she told the Los Angeles Times.
Another key figure in the impeachment of President Clinton was civil servant Paula Jones. Jones sued Clinton for sexual harassment, a charge he denies to this day. During questioning for Jones’ case, Clinton denied having sexual relations with Lewinsky. Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr would later claim that Clinton had obstructed justice and lied under oath in doing so.
Annaleigh Ashford of “B Positive” and “Bad Education” plays Jones. Ashford says she can remember learning about Jones from late-night talk shows in the ’90s.
“I specifically remember Paula Jones being made fun of because of her nose and her looks, and often being called trailer trash, even though she never lived in a trailer park, which I find fascinating. It was like her accent and her looks made her a target,” Ashford told Entertainment Weekly. Ashford also wears a prosthetic nose in “Impeachment.”
Other notable cast members include Cobie Smulders (‘How I Met Your Mother’) as media pundit Ann Coulter, Billie Eichner (‘Billy On the Street’) as journalist Matt Drudge, and Taran Killam (‘Saturday Night Live’) as Paula Jones’ husband, Steven Jones.
What to Expect from ‘Impeachment’ & Where to Watch
More than two decades after Clinton’s impeachment, the American public is far more sympathetic to Lewinsky. “Impeachment” shows how vicious the media was in its attacks on her and the other women involved in the scandal.
In an interview with Vanity Fair, Lewinsky said she was hesitant to become involved with “Impeachment” at first. But when she realized that Ryan Murphy, a producer on the show and the creator of “American Horror Story,” was committed to giving a voice to marginalized people, she got on board.
“I’m so grateful for the growth we’ve made as a society that allows people like me who have been historically silenced to finally reintroduce my voice to the conversation. 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,” Lewinsky told Vanity Fair.
“Impeachment: American Crime Story” premieres September 7 at 10 p.m. Eastern on FX. New episodes will air weekly. Episodes will also be available on Hulu the day after airing.