Posted on Friday, August 20th, 2021 by Shania Russell
American Crime Story is taking a couple of steps back from murder this season to address the extremely scandalous saga of President Bill Clinton‘s impeachment. While these events happened just a cool 23 years ago, time has really broken down as a construct, so you may find yourself needing a little refresher course. Not to mention the fact that the scandal spans a few years and involves several major players.
The series includes an exciting star-studded cast, who fill the roles of, yes, more famous people! To help you keep track of this sprawling cast of performers, here’s a quick guide of who’s who in the upcoming FX series, Impeachment: American Crime Story.
Beanie Feldstein as Monica Lewinsky
Monica Lewinsky became a household name in the late ’90s when the details of her relationship with former President Bill Clinton were shared with the public. It began back in 1995 when Bill Clinton initiated an affair with the 21-year old unpaid White House intern. The relationship spanned a year and a half before Lewinsky was transferred to the Pentagon, where she confided in co-worker and friend, Linda Tripp. It wasn’t until 1998 that the leaked details would whisk Lewinksy into the public eye, as the affair made headlines.
Impeachment: American Crime Story examines this national crisis through the eyes of the women at its center, meaning a greater spotlight shines on this fictional iteration of Monica Lewinsky. Throughout the actual impeachment proceedings and in the many years the followed, Lewinsky’s name was smeared and she was on the receiving end of cruel jokes, derision, and harassment. The power imbalance in her relationship with Bill Clinton went ignored, but thankfully, this series involves Lewinsky’s perspective and active participation as a co-producer.
Beanie Feldstein will play Monica Lewinsky, continuing her well-deserved rise to fame that kicked into gear with 2017’s Lady Bird and 2019’s Booksmart. Where those films flexed her comedic muscles, here Feldstein will show off her dramatic skills as her character’s life is publicly flipped upside down.
Sarah Paulson as Linda Tripp
American Crime Story alum and Ryan Murphy mainstay Sarah Paulson stars as Linda Tripp, the former White House and Pentagon employee known as the whistleblower in the Clinton-Impeachment scandal. Tripp first met Lewinsky in 1996 when the pair were both transferred to the Pentagon and, despite their significant age gap, became close friends. Eventually, Tripp became a close confidant of Lewinsky’s, who she trusted enough to share the details of her affair with Bill Clinton. Believing it her “patriotic duty” to intervene, Tripp began to secretly record her phone calls with Lewinsky. She even met with Lewinsky, wired by the FBI, and got enough info for Lewinsky to be taken and questioned by the agents.
Expect Impeachment to shine plenty of light on Tripp’s journey throughout the series. The trailer indicates that her relationship with Lewinsky will be especially crucial, given her actions drastically alter both their lives. At one point, Paulson’s Tripp is warned that sharing her info will wreck their friendship and throw them into the spotlight, but history has already proven it’s a risk she was willing to take.
Emmy and Golden Globe-winning actress Sarah Paulson has been around the American Story block once or twice. She starred in the very first season of the anthology, The People v. O.J. Simpson, and has appeared in many seasons of the show’s sister series, American Horror Story.
Annaleigh Ashford as Paula Jones
Paula Jones is a former Arkansas state employee, who was thrust into the public eye after suing Bill Clinton for sexual harassment. She accused then-Governor Bill Clinton of inviting her to his hotel room and exposing himself. Her 1994 lawsuit later reached the Supreme Court and triggered the investigation that would eventually lead to the Clinton-Impeachment trial.
Jones’s lawyers decided to build a case against Bill Clinton, relying on him having a history of sexual relationships with employees. As part of the deposition, he was asked point-blank about having an affair with intern Monica Lewinsky. This famously lead to Bill Clinton denying any “sexual relations” with Lewinsky and, well…the rest is history.
As for Jones’ lawsuit, Bill Clinton denied the charges, and the case was settled out of court. Much like Lewinsky, Jones’ accusations led to her being smeared and harassed by the media. Impeachment is expected to spend more time on her struggles throughout the trial.
B Positive and Masters of Sex star Annaleigh Ashford plays Paula Jones.
Clive Owen as Bill Clinton
Bill Clinton is the 42nd President of the United States, whose impeachment trial is at the center of the series. The smooth-talking president faced multiple allegations of sexual misconduct before, during, and after his first term as president. During his tenure in the White House, his inappropriate relationship with intern Monica Lewinsky served as the catalyst for his eventual impeachment. Ultimately, his second term came to an end with the House of Representatives voting to impeach Bill after he lied under oath, obstructing justice.
The former president will be portrayed by British actor Clive Owen, most recently seen in the AppleTV+ miniseries Lisey’s Story, based on the Stephen King novel of the same name.
Edie Falco as Hillary Clinton
This true crime story is full of many household names, but who requires less introduction than Hilary Clinton? During the trial, she was First Lady of the United States, working alongside her husband in the White House. She was also heavily criticized in the media (which remains very true to this day), often the subject of heavy scrutiny and backlash for both her political work and anything else they could scrounge up.
At the time of the sexual misconduct allegations, Hillary consistently came to her husband’s defense when questioned by the press. Initially, she dismissed the Lewinsky rumors as a conspiracy cooked up by political opponents.
The creators have indicated that Hillary will not have a particularly large role in the series, though we’ve already seen some clips of Falco’s Clinton being photographed by the press and reacting angrily to her husband. However brief her appearance, it’s fair to say Falco’s performance will be emotionally charged.
Edie Falco is an Emmy and Golden Globe-winning actress, best known for her roles in The Sopranos and Nurse Jackie.
Colbie Smoulders as Ann Coulter
Conservative media pundit Ann Coulter wrote her first book on the impeachment of Bill Clinton. Beforehand, she served as a legal advisor to Paula Jones’ attorneys as they pursued their case against Bill. An outspoken critic of his administration, Coulter threw her support behind Jones’ case, and, for a time, wrote legal briefs for her lawyers. She’s also been credited with “keeping the case alive” by leaking info to the media to ensure Jones’ lawsuit didn’t fade into the background before being settled.
Coulter is played by How I Met Your Mother star, Cobie Smulders.
Margo Martindale as Lucianne Goldberg
Before the Lewinsky scandal, Linda Tripp was in talks to publish a book with a literary agent, Lucianne Goldberg. During one of their many preliminary conversations, Tripp revealed that she happened across sensitive information about the President’s personal life and shared the details of Bill Clinton’s affair with Lewinsky. Goldberg was an inciting voice, encouraging Tripp to record and leak the conversations to the press.
Goldberg is played by The Americans actress, Margo Martindale.
Billy Eichner as Matt Drudge
Founder of The Drudge Report, Matt Drudge is a conservative author and political commentator who was early to the Clinton-Lewinsky scandal. His site broke the news and reported that Newsweek was sitting on a story about Bill Clinton’s affair. The website earned plenty of traffic and played a pivotal role in pushing the scandal into mainstream media.
Billy on the Street creator and star Billy Eichner stars as Drudge.
The series also stars Anthony Green, Taran Killam, Mira Sorvino, Kathleen Turner, Dan Bakkedahl, Joseph Mazzello, Blair Underwood, Kevin Pollak, and Patrick Fischler.
Impeachment: American Crime Story premiered on FX on September 7, 2021.
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