Ryan Murphy and his production team are hard at work on the next season of FX's American Crime Story. The third season is adapting A Vast Conspiracy: The Real Sex Scandal that Nearly Brought Down a President, Jeffrey Toobin's bestseller about the impeachment of Bill Clinton, which followed his affair with Monica Lewinsky. Murphy, especially conscious of how the press vilified Lewinsky, who at the time was a 22-year-old White House intern, invited her onboard as a producer for the upcoming series. No doubt, Impeachment: American Crime Story will tell Lewinsky's side of the affair and delve into the devastating effects of falling prey to popular man in power and subsequently being slut-shamed by an entire country.
Impeachment is shaping up to be the juiciest installment of the hit anthology series yet, and here's everything we know about the upcoming season.
Filming will begin in early fall 2020. The premiere was originally slated for Sept. 27, but due to delays caused by Murphy's schedule and then the coronavirus pandemic, production on the series won't begin until early fall, according to Variety. This most likely means an early 2021 release, so there's plenty of time for you to read Toobin's book, if you want to get caught up.
The cast is stacked. Impeachment is drawing hot new talent to the Murphy repertoire, starting with Beanie Feldstein (Booksmart) as Lewinsky. Clive Owen is tackling Clinton; Annaleigh Ashford will play Paula Jones, another Clinton accuser; and Sarah Paulson and Billy Eichner return to the Murphyverse as Linda Tripp, whose recordings of Lewnisky blew the scandal wide open, and Matt Drudge, who first broke the story on Drudge Report, respectively. Betty Gilpin of GLOW will play Ann Coulter.
Lewinsky was initially hesitant to join the series as a producer. Per Vanity Fair, Murphy approached Lewinsky for the project by saying, "Nobody should tell your story but you, and it's kind of gross if they do. 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, convinced after a long dinner, said of Murphy, "I came to understand even more clearly how dedicated he is to giving a voice to the marginalized in all of his brilliant work."
Despite the fact that people have been co-opting and telling her story for decades, it took Lewnisky almost 20 years to reclaim her narrative. Undoubtedly, Impeachment will give audiences an in-depth look at her experiences, which she described as, "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."
The Clintons are not involved. When asked in Jan. 2019 at the Television Critics Association winter press tour about whether the Clinton family would be involved in the series, FX boss John Landgraf said, "I won't be reaching out to them, no." Landgraf also noted that American Crime Story has always been about revising history to include nuance on issues that were missing at the time. "The way we perceive many aspects of it, but particularly the women, the female characters, has really been transformed by the period of time, the #MeToo movement," said Landgraf. The season, according to the FX boss, will focus on "events that led up to and through the Ken Starr special counsel investigation" and is "told through the point of view of the many women swept up in that maelstrom."
Sarah Burgess will serve as showrunner. Keeping in line with Murphy's desire to make sure Lewinsky's perspective comes first, he tapped first-time showrunner and playwright Sarah Burgess to keep the series centered on the narratives of the women who were caught in the fallout of Clinton's actions. Executive-producing with Burgess will be Murphy, Paulson, Michael Uppendahl, Nina Jacobson, Brad Simpson, Brad Falchuk, Larry Karaszewski, Scott Alexander, and Alexis Martin Woodall. Lewinsky, Feldstein, Henrietta Conrad, and Jemima Khan are producing. Uppendahl, who is replacing Richard Shepard as the producing director, will direct the Impeachment pilot.