Monica Lewinsky is slated to produce the next season of FX’s “American Crime Story,” which will be based on the 1998 impeachment of President Bill Clinton.
FX made the announcement during the Television Critics Association summer press tour on Tuesday, according to reports from Variety and The Hollywood Reporter. The season will be based on a book by author and attorney Jeffrey Toobin, “A Vast Conspiracy: The Real Story of the Sex Scandal That Nearly Brought Down a President.”
The network said it had cast Beanie Feldstein, of “Booksmart” fame, as former White House intern Monica Lewinsky, with Sarah Paulson as Lewinsky confidante Linda Tripp and Annaleigh Ashford as sexual harassment accuser Paula Jones.
John Landgraf, the chairman of FX Networks and FX Productions, in a release on Tuesday called “American Crime Story” a “cultural touchstone” that delved into the O.J. Simpson trial and Andrew Cunanan’s assassination of designer Gianni Versace in its first two seasons.
“This franchise re-examines some of the most complicated, polarizing stories in recent history in a way that is relevant, nuanced and entertaining,” Landgraf said.
He continued: ”‘Impeachment: American Crime Story’ will likewise 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.”
Executive producer Ryan Murphy first optioned Toobin’s book in January 2017 but later expressed concerns about telling Lewinsky’s story. “I told her, ‘Nobody should tell your story but you, and it’s kind of gross if they do,’” Murphy told The Hollywood Reporter last year. “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.’”
Lewinsky has been increasingly vocal in recent years about her brief affair with Clinton leading up to his impeachment trial, as well as the ensuing years of harassment she experienced.
“I felt like every layer of my skin and my identity were ripped off of me in ’98 and ’99,” Lewinsky told The Guardian in 2016. “It’s a skinning of sorts. You feel incredibly raw and frightened. But I also feel like the shame sticks to you like tar.”
In a 2018 essay for Vanity Fair following the emergence of the Me Too movement, the former intern said it has taken the last two decades to process everything that happened.
“I’m beginning (just beginning) to consider the implications of the power differentials that were so vast between a president and a White House intern,” Lewinsky, now 46, wrote. “I’m beginning to entertain the notion that in such a circumstance the idea of consent might well be rendered moot. (Although power imbalances ― and the ability to abuse them ― do exist even when the sex has been consensual.)
“I want to be thoughtful,” she continued. “But I know one thing for certain: part of what has allowed me to shift is knowing I’m not alone anymore. And for that I am grateful.”