Why Sarah Paulson Can "100 Percent" Relate to Monica Lewinsky After Filming American Crime Story

By Samantha Bergeson Sep 02, 2021 6:47 PMTags

Hindsight is 2021.  

Impeachment: American Crime Story stars Sarah Paulson and Beanie Feldstein felt a duty to empathetically portray former White House intern-turned-activist Monica Lewinsky when telling the story of her previous affair with President Bill Clinton.

While both actresses could relate to Lewinsky's choices amid the political controversy, Paulson told E! News' Daily Pop co-host Justin Sylvester that if she were in the same position as Lewinsky, Paulson would have done the same thing. 

"I would have walked back in the Oval Office and I would have had a Diet Coke with the president," Paulson stated during the Sept. 2 episode. "I 100 percent would have. There is not a question in my mind that if I were in Monica Lewinsky's shoes that I wouldn't have done the same thing, and you can think about me what you will, that I would admit that, but I would be hard-pressed to imagine many people wouldn't."

Paulson continued, "At 22 years old, I could barely put my socks on, let alone figure out the negotiation between the heart and the mind and the right from the wrong." 

The Cast of Impeachment: American Crime Story

Paulson, who plays whistleblower Linda Tripp, added that the treatment of Lewinsky is because "people don't like women" in our current "chauvinistic" society.

"Is that a bad answer? I'm sorry, but it's true," Paulson explained. "People don't like women. Women don't like women. It's tough. We are living in a time right now where there is so much access to the bullhorn and to communicate your thoughts at every given moment about everything you think and feel, and sometimes great harm can come from that." 

Frank Micelotta/FX/Picturegroup/Shutterstock

Lewinsky is portrayed by Feldstein onscreen, who also co-executive produces the Ryan Murphy miniseries, premiering Sept. 7 on FX and Hulu.

"I've walked many miles in her shoes and it's been a deep, deep wonderful honor," Feldstein gushed at the premiere. "I kind of had always thought that I was meant to always play her. I know that sounds strange, but she was always a name that popped in my mind." 

Feldstein also took it upon herself to be Lewinsky's "bodyguard" on set.

"'I promise to protect you. I care about what you went through, you mean the world to me, I will protect you,'" Feldstein recalled telling Lewinsky prior to filming. "Of course I was still nervous but I like to think she knew I was always in her corner, and I still am." 

Watch the full interview above to also see Clive Owen's take on playing Bill Clinton.