FX has announced a third season of Ryan Murphy’s anthology series American Crime Story, which will center on the impeachment of former president Bill Clinton. Based on Jeffrey Toobin’s book A Vast Conspiracy: The Real Story of the Sex Scandal That Nearly Brought Down a President, the episodes will premiere September 27, 2020.
Booksmart star Beanie Feldstein will star as Monica Lewinsky, and regular Murphy collaborator Sarah Paulson will appear as Linda Tripp. Annaleigh Ashford has been cast as Paula Jones. As evidenced by the casting announcement, the season will focus on the women involved in the impeachment proceedings, rather than on Clinton’s point of view. Lewinsky will act as a producer on the series.
“This franchise re-examines some of the most complicated, polarizing stories in recent history in a way that is relevant, nuanced and entertaining,” FX CEO John Landgraf said in a press release. “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. We are grateful to Sarah Burgess for her brilliant adaptation, as well as Ryan Murphy, Nina Jacobson, Brad Simpson, Brad Falchuk, Larry Karaszewski, Scott Alexander, Alexis Martin Woodall, Sarah Paulson and the rest of the creative team and cast.”
The first season of American Crime Story followed the people and events leading up to and during the O.J. Simpson trial, while the second season detailed the death of Gianni Versace by Andrew Cunanan. There was some previous discussion that the series, which has won numerous Emmys, might focus its third season on the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, but Murphy announced his intentions for this story after optioning Toobin’s book in 2017.
Murphy told The Hollywood Reporter last year that he didn’t want to do a season on the Clinton scandal unless Lewinsky, who is now a producer, was onboard. “I told her, ‘Nobody should tell your story but you, and it’s kind of gross if they do,'” Murphy said. “‘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.'”
“I was hesitant, and truthfully more than a little scared to sign on,” Lewinsky told Vanity Fair. “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. 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 added, “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.”