Why Monica Lewinsky Signed on to Produce Impeachment: American Crime Story With Ryan Murphy

The new season will star Beanie Feldstein and Sarah Paulson

By Chris Harnick Aug 07, 2019 4:53 PMTags

The saga of American Crime Story's Monica Lewinsky-Bill Clinton season may be just as epic as whatever comes on screen in 2020.

Originally discussed by Ryan Murphy in 2017, he would eventually reveal those plans were scrappeduntil August 2019 when they were back on with Lewinsky on board as a producer.

"I told her, 'Nobody should tell your story but you, and it's kind of gross if they do,'" Murphy 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.'"

And that's just what happened. Announced by FX's John Landgraf at the 2019 Television Critics Association summer press tour, Impeachment: American Crime Story will have Lewinsky on board as a producer with Beanie Feldstein playing her on camera. In a statement to Vanity Fair, Lewinsky opened up about her decision to get on board with the series that also stars Sarah Paulson as Linda Tripp.

"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. I'm privileged to work with him and the other talented people on the team, and I'm privileged to have this opportunity," Lewinsky wrote.

However, she used this as an opportunity to tell her own story that's been told by others involved for years.

"People have been co-opting and telling my part in this story for decades. In fact, it wasn't until the past few years that I've been able to fully reclaim my narrative; almost 20 years later," she said. "But 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."

Landgraf said he thinks people will see the whole affair and impeachment proceedings differently through the prism of American Crime Story.

"I think, more than anything, the reason it's back is because the producers, Brad Simpson and Nina Jacobson and Ryan Murphy really stayed on their belief that there was something worth making there. It's really because of [writer] Sarah Burgess. Sarah Burgess is a really, really gifted, talented playwright receiving a lot of deserved acclaim right now, who comes from a younger female point of view, a feminist point of view. So I think if you went back and you saw the way that that story was covered at the time, you will see that the way we perceive many aspects of it, but particularly the women, the female characters that played a role in that story, has really been transformed by the ensuing history, by the period of time, by the #MeToo movement, by all those things," he said when asked at TCA why the project was back on.

"I find Monica Lewinsky extremely impressive. I find the way that she's sort of risen from the kind of early trauma that, frankly, could have buckled anyone it could have driven me to my knees and down to the ground, and she's come back. I don't know if you guys have heard or read some of her more recent commentary, there's a really wonderful TED Talk," Landgraf said.

Impeachment: American Crime Story will premiere Sunday, Sept. 27, 2020 at 10 p.m. on FX.

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