Sarah Paulson is set to star as Linda Tripp alongside Beanie Feldstein as Monica Lewinsky and Annaleigh Ashford as Paula Jones.
FX has announced the subject of the third season of its "American Crime Story" anthology series and it's certainly a topic that's become a hot-button issue in recent months: impeachment.
In particular, FX boss John Landgraf told reporters at the Television Critics Association summer press tour that the popular series will be tackling the months leading up to the impeachment of President Bill Clinton in 1998.
And if you're looking for authenticity behind what could be a very sensationalized project, none other than Monica Lewinsky has signed on as a producer for the project.
On top of that, FX legend Sarah Paulson ("American Horror Story") has joined the cast as Lewinsky's one-time best friend -- and the one who exposed her affair with Clinton -- Linda Tripp, joined by Beanie Feldstein ("Booksmart") as Monica Lewinsky and Annaleigh Ashford ("Masters of Sex") as Paula Jones.
Based on Jeffrey Toobin's book "A Vast Conspiracy: The Real Story of the Sex Scandal That Nearly Brought Down a President," the season entitled "Impeachment: American Crime Story" is currently anticipating a Sep. 27, 2020 bow on the network.
Eagle-eyed fans were quick to notice that puts a very high profile series about impeachment in the national consciousness just months before the next presidential election that just happens to feature a president about whom many are discussing that very topic. Is this a strategic and political statement on the part of the network?
"Let me just say something about the current environment. When someone writes without even knowing what the script is," he said of medias both professional and social, as covered by TV Guide. "This person knows what the show is, what the audience response is going to be, knows how it's going to impact history, right? That says, 'We can't have conversations, we can't make art, we can't have nuance. I won't even wait to pronounce judgment on it.'"
As far as Landgraf is concerned, "that's a toxic media environment." And just in case it wasn't completely clear, he added, "I don't believe it's going to determine who is the next president of the United States. I think that is a little hysterical."
After entrancing the nation in 1998 during the initial impeachment hearings, the #MeToo movement has gone a long way toward seeing Americans re-examine the case and the principal players, particularly the long-term suffering endured by Lewinsky who became the butt of office jokes and has effectively endured slut-shaming at a national level for the past two decades.
"I think if you went back and saw the way that story was covered at the time, you would see that the way we perceive many aspects of it, but particularly the women ... has really been transformed by the ensuing history, the period of time, the #MeToo movement and all of those things."
And that's why "ACS" is re-contextualizing a story that was told primarily from a male perspective for 21 years. "'Impeachment: American Crime Story' 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," Landgraf told news outlets, including TV Line.
But it was Lewinsky's strength and involvement that truly inspired Landgraf to get behind this iteration of the "ACS" franchise. "I find Monica Lewinsky extremely impressive, the way that she has risen from the kind of early trauma that could have easily driven me to the knees and down to the ground," Landgraf told reporters.
"I think the fact that Monica, herself, wants to be involved in it when talking about a period in her life that was specifically traumatic, maybe tells you something about the quality of the material and the vibrancy of the revisionist history that that material can provide now."
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