More than 20 years after her name became synonymous with political scandal, Monica Lewinsky is taking her story to the small screen as a producer on the next installment of FX’s Emmy-winning Ryan Murphy-produced anthology series American Crime Story.
The news was announced Tuesday during FX Networks’s daylong presentation at the Television Critics Association annual summer press tour in Beverly Hills. And members of the organization had more than a few questions for FX Networks CEO John Landgraf on the announcement, starting with concerns that the series, slated to air Sept. 27, 2020, would coincide so closely with yet another divisive presidential election.
Landgraf said it’s “toxic” to imply that American voters would be swayed by the series, which will depict a more female-leaning version of the events that led to President Bill Clinton’s 1998 impeachment proceedings stemming from a sexual harassment scandal involving Arkansas state employee Paula Jones and affair with then White House intern Lewinsky.
“It’s frankly hysterical to think the series is going to influence the election,” said Landgraf. “This [anthology] series is about moments in time that involved crimes that can be looked at now with nuance and character. I feel completely unabashed about my pride…it’s an excellent story,” he said of the project, which is based on author Jeffrey Toobin's best-selling book A Vast Conspiracy: The Real Story of the Sex Scandal That Nearly Brought Down a President and written by playwright Sarah Burgess. Landgraf added that the cornerstone of his job is to “stand for artists and stand for art.”
And he had plenty about which to boast of the latter, including announcements that Donald Glover’s Emmy-winning series Atlanta will be shooting its third and fourth seasons next spring; that Noah Hawley’s fourth installment of Fargo would begin production in Chicago this fall—headlined by Chris Rock—and that Oscar winner Cate Blanchett’s TV debut, the women’s-rights-themed Mrs. America, is currently underway, among a slew of other gestating new dramas and comedies.
But reporters’ attention inevitably kept turning to Impeachment: American Crime Story, namely about whether Lewinsky had any say in Booksmart actress Beanie Feldstein being cast to play her in the series (“Their deals happened at same time, so no,” he said) and if the couple at the center of the drama, the Clintons, were in any way involved in the show.
“No,” Landgraf stated plainly.
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