© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Vanity Fair 2018 Oscar Party – Arrivals – Beverly Hills, California, USA, 04/03/2018 – Monica Lewinsky. REUTERS / Danny Moloshok
By Lisa Richwine
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – A television series that premieres next month delves into the ouster of former U.S. President Bill Clinton and star Beanie Feldstein said he hopes he can “redeem” Monica Lewinsky in the eyes of some spectators.
Lewinsky had an unusual level of involvement in “Impeachment: American Crime Story,” the producers said Friday before the Sept. 7 premiere at Walt Disney (NYSE 🙂 Co. FX Network. He provided commentary on the scripts and approved the dialogue recited by Feldstein, the “Booksmart” star who plays the former fellow.
Feldstein said he developed a friendship with Lewinsky, meeting once in person just before the success of the COVID-19 pandemic and exchanging texts and videos.
“She was giving amazingly, and when I started filming I made it very clear to her that she saw me as her bodyguard,” Feldstein said at an event of the Association of Television Critics.
The actress said she told Lewinsky, “I’ll protect you. I have my back. I know your heart.”
Lewinsky began an affair with Clinton when he was 22 years old. Clinton initially lied about the relationship before apologizing. He was indicted by the U.S. House of Representatives, but was acquitted by the Senate.
Feldstein said he was too young to have impressions of that time, but he has heard negative memories and “it was very important for me to unravel it and redeem it.”
Lewinsky had become a fist line and criticized his appearance and actions, the producers said, but he could not speak freely because of an agreement that provided him with immunity from being prosecuted.
“Our culture created a second Monica Lewinsky that has nothing to do with the real person,” said writer Sarah Burgess.
The series also tells the story from the point of view of Lewinsky’s friend Linda Tripp, who secretly recorded her phone conversations, and Paula Jones, who accused Clinton of exposing herself to her when he was governor of Arkansas.
“Impeachment” is part of the Emmy-winning series “American Crime Story” that examined the murder process of OJ Simpson and the murder of designer Gianni Versace. The creators explore crimes that “we are collectively guilty of as Americans,” said executive producer Nina Jacobson, “and I can’t think of a story that best fits the bill.”
“We are deeply involved in the way we represented these women and treated them,” she said. “We’re as guilty as the rest of them in many ways, minus the recording.”
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