Monica Lewinsky explains why she agreed to produce 'Impeachment: American Crime Story'

On Tuesday, FX announced that the third season of Ryan Murphy’s anthology series, American Crime Story, will turn its attention to the 1998 impeachment trial of President Bill Clinton. Premiering in 2020, the new season will go inside the national scandal that made Linda Tripp, Monica Lewinsky and Paula Jones key figures in the country’s first impeachment proceedings in over a century.

Based on Jeffrey Toobin’s bestselling book A Vast Conspiracy: The Real Story of the Sex Scandal That Nearly Brought Down a President, the new season will be written and executive produced by Sarah Burgess. 

Notably, Lewinsky herself will serve as producer on Impeachment: American Crime Story, which will see Beanie Feldstein portray her when she was a 22-year-old White House intern. Annaleigh Ashford and Sarah Paulson round out the lead cast Jones and Tripp, respectively.    

While the intention to tackle the impeachment trial was announced in 2017, following the success of The People vs O.J. Simpson, the project was reportedly shelved until Murphy could get Lewinsky’s OK to move forward. 

In an email to Vanity Fair, Lewinsky explained her reasons for signing on to produce the new season of American Crime Story. “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,” she wrote. “I’m privileged to work with him and the other talented people on the team, and I’m privileged to have this opportunity.”

She continued by writing, “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.” The opportunity to produce the series, she explained, “allows people like me who have been historically silenced to finally reintroduce my voice to the conversation.”

In the 20 years since the scandal broke, Lewinsky has only participated in the 2018 docuseries The Clinton Affair. The series also marks her first time producing scripted TV. 

Slated for a Sept. 27, 2020 debut, Impeachment: American Crime Story arrives less than two months before the upcoming presidential election. “People are going to be very interested in this right around the presidential election," John Landgraf, chairman of FX Networks and FX Productions, told reporters during the Television Critics Association summer press tour, when asked about the conspicuous timing.

“The way we look at American Crime Story is as Revisionist History," Landgraf continued, referring to Malcolm Gladwell's political podcast. "We look at moments in time that involve crimes that can be looked at in a much more nuanced and a much more complex in the fullness of time, through great writing and character looking at with time.” 

What sets Impeachment apart from other takes on the late-’90s scandal, Landgraf said, is that “it comes from a younger female point of view, a feminist point of view.”

“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,” he continued.

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Monica Lewinsky out and about in recent years
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Monica Lewinsky out and about in recent years
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - MARCH 04: Monica Lewinsky attends the 2018 Vanity Fair Oscar Party hosted by Radhika Jones at Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts on March 4, 2018 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic)
LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 27: Honoree and activist Monica Lewinsky arrives at TLC's Give A Little Awards at NeueHouse Hollywood on September 27, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Amanda Edwards/Getty Images,)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - FEBRUARY 26: Monica Lewinsky arrives at the 2017 Vanity Fair Oscar Party Hosted By Graydon Carter at Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts on February 26, 2017 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - FEBRUARY 26: (EXCLUSIVE ACCESS, SPECIAL RATES APPLY) (EXCLUSIVE ACCESS, SPECIAL RATES APPLY) Writer Monica Lewinsky attends the 2017 Vanity Fair Oscar Party hosted by Graydon Carter at Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts on February 26, 2017 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Dave M. Benett/VF17/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 08: Monica Lewinsky attends MARINA 70 at Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum on December 8, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Paul Bruinooge/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 08: Monica Lewinsky attends MARINA 70 at Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum on December 8, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Jared Siskin/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 21: Monica Lewinsky attends Vanity Fair & SAKS Fifth Avenue International Best Dressed List at Saks Fifth Avenue on September 21, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Paul Bruinooge/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)
SAN FRANCISCO, CA - OCTOBER 20: Talent agent Ronald Meyer (L) and Monica Lewinsky attend the Vanity Fair New Establishment Summit at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts on October 20, 2016 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Michael Kovac/Getty Images for Vanity Fair)
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 02: (EXCLUSIVE COVERAGE) Monica Lewinsky poses backstage at the hit musical based on the cult film 'American Psycho' on Broadway at The Schoenfeld Theatre on May 02, 2016 in New York, New York. (Photo by Bruce Glikas/FilmMagic)
LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 23: Monica Lewinsky arrives for the gala screening of 'Despite The Falling Snow' on March 23, 2016 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Karwai Tang/WireImage)
Monica Lewinsky arrives to the Vanity Fair Party following the 88th Academy Awards at The Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts in Beverly Hills Sunday evening, February 28, 2016. (Photo by Axel Koester/Corbis via Getty Images)
Monica Lewinsky arrives to the Vanity Fair Party following the 88th Academy Awards at The Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts in Beverly Hills Sunday evening, February 28, 2016. (Photo by Axel Koester/Corbis via Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 12: Alice Temperley (L) and Monica Lewinsky attend an intimate dinner party hosted by Alice Temperley to celebrate 15 years of Temperley at GWP Studio on November 12, 2015 in London, England. Guests drank Baileys Flat White martinis to toast the occasion and mark the significant milestone for the brand. (Photo by David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images for Temperley London)
LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 09: Monica Lewinsky attends the launch of A.A. Gill's new book 'Pour Me: A Life' at Daunt Books on November 9, 2015 in London, England. (Photo by David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 09: Monica Lewinsky attends the launch of A.A. Gill's new book 'Pour Me: A Life' at Daunt Books on November 9, 2015 in London, England. (Photo by David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 22: Monica Lewinsky attends Andy Cohen & SiriusXM celebrate the launch of Cohen's New, Exclusive SiriusXM Channel, Radio Andy, at PHD Rooftop Lounge at The Dream Downtown in New York City on October 22, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images for SiriusXM)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 22: Monica Lewinsky, Mark Consuelos and Kelly Ripa speak with Andy Cohen & SiriusXM to celebrate the launch of Cohen's New, Exclusive SiriusXM Channel, Radio Andy, at PHD Rooftop Lounge at The Dream Downtown in New York City on October 22, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images for SiriusXM)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 19: Monica Lewinsky (R) visits TV/Radio host Andy Cohen (L) at Radio Andy at SiriusXM Studios on October 19, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Anna Webber/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 22: Monica Lewinsky attends Andy Cohen & SiriusXM celebrate the launch of Cohen's New, Exclusive SiriusXM Channel, Radio Andy, at PHD Rooftop Lounge at The Dream Downtown in New York City on October 22, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images for SiriusXM)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 19: Monica Lewinsky visits SiriusXM Studios on October 19, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Anna Webber/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - OCTOBER 06: Monica Lewinsky attends the Forbes Under 30 Summit at Pennsylvania Convention Center on October 6, 2015 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Gilbert Carrasquillo/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - OCTOBER 06: Monica Lewinsky attends the Forbes Under 30 Summit at Pennsylvania Convention Center on October 6, 2015 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Gilbert Carrasquillo/Getty Images)
WEST HOLLYWOOD, CA - SEPTEMBER 18: Monica Lewinsky attends the Television Industry Advocacy Awards benefiting The Creative Coalition in Partnership With TV Guide Magazine and TV Insider held at Sunset Tower on September 18, 2015 in West Hollywood, California. (Photo by Tommaso Boddi/WireImage)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 01: Monica Lewinsky attends a dinner following the private view of 'Raw Footage' at The Cafe Royal on July 1, 2015 in London, England. (Photo by David M. Benett/Getty Images)
CANNES, FRANCE - JUNE 25: Monica Lewinsky gives a speech at the Ogilvy & Mather Seminar during the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity on June 25, 2015 in Cannes, France. (Photo by Francois G. Durand/Getty Images)
CANNES, FRANCE - JUNE 24: Monica Lewinsky arrives at the Palais des Festivals during the 'Cannes Lions Festival' on June 24, 2015 in Cannes, France. (Photo by Marc Piasecki/GC Images)
NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 07: Monica Lewinsky attends American Theatre Wing's 69th Annual Tony Awards at Radio City Music Hall on June 7, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Jim Spellman/WireImage)
Monica Lewinsky arrives for the American Theatre Wing's 69th Annual Tony Awards at the Radio City Music Hall in New York City on June 7, 2015. AFP PHOTO/ KENA BETANCUR (Photo credit should read KENA BETANCUR/AFP/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 12: Monica Lewinsky is seen arriving at Claridge's hotel, Mayfair on May 12, 2015 in London, England. (Photo by Niki Nikolova/GC Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - MAY 23: Monica Lewinsky attends #iamdancingman Event Featuring Moby at Avalon Hollywood on May 23, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Michael Bezjian/Getty Images for gudly)
LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 12: Monica Lewinsky (L) and Heather Kerzner attend the Spring Gala In Aid of the Red Cross War Memorial Children's Hospital hosted by QBF and Kerzner Calliva at Claridge's Hotel on May 12, 2015 in London, England. (Photo by David M. Benett/Getty Images for Quercus Biasi Foundation)
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 20: Monica Lewinsky (L) and Alan Cumming attend the Performance Space 122 2015 Spring Gala Honoring Claire Danes at Capitale on April 20, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Bryan Bedder/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 08: Monica Lewinsky (R) attends 'The 35 Most Powerful People In Media' celebrated by The Hollywoood Reporter at Four Seasons Restaurant on April 8, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Neilson Barnard/Getty Images)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - FEBRUARY 22: Monica Lewinsky arrives at the 2015 Vanity Fair Oscar Party Hosted By Graydon Carter at Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts on February 22, 2015 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - FEBRUARY 22: Monica Lewinsky arrives at the 2015 Vanity Fair Oscar Party Hosted By Graydon Carter at Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts on February 22, 2015 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic)
NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 11: Monica Lewinsky attends the Rachel Comey fashion show at Pioneer Works Center for Arts & Innovation during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week on February 11, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Fernando Leon/Getty Images)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - JANUARY 11: (L-R) Actor Alan Cumming and Monica Lewinsky attend HBO's post Golden Globe Awards party at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on January 11, 2015 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Barry King/FilmMagic)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 22: Monica Lewinsky attends a screening of 'Lost In Karastan' during the 4th annual LOCO London Comedy Film Festival at BFI Southbank on January 22, 2015 in London, England. (Photo by David M. Benett/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - DECEMBER 07: Monica Lewinsky attends TrevorLIVE Los Angeles at the Hollywood Palladium on December 7, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic)
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