Emmy winner Sarah Paulson is heading back to American Crime Story, and she looks unrecognizable. The Ryan Murphy-favorite is starring in the upcoming third season of the series, titled Impeachment, which follows the infamous Bill Clinton-Monica Lewinsky sex scandal of 1998.
Paulson, who won an Emmy for her portrayal of O.J. Simpson prosecutor Marcia Clark on the first season of American Crime Story, will be playing White House whistleblower Linda Tripp this time around. Tripp became a close friend of Monica Lewinsky’s while they both worked at the Pentagon’s public affairs office after working in the White House.
It was then that Tripp started recording her phone calls with Lewinsky, encouraging her to come forward with details about her relationship with President Bill Clinton. She eventually gave those tapes over to independent counsel Kenneth Starr.
Paulson went on Jimmy Kimmel to talk about the role. “I’ll be wearing a lot of prosthetics and body transformational accoutrement, if that’s a word one can use,” she laughed.
She said that she didn’t meet with Tripp before she died in April. “I don’t know if I ever would have met Linda, or if Linda would have even been open to doing anything like that,” she said. When Tripp died, Paulson’s phone blew up with condolences.
“It was weird because I had been spending so much time reading all these books and working with a dialect coach,” she said, “I was immersed in this and it was a very wild thing. It really did make me sad.”
This weekend Paulson shared a behind the scenes photo of her transformation into Linda Tripp on Twitter, saying that Impeachment has begun principle photography. Filming was supposed to start earlier in the year, but was delayed because of the pandemic.
American Crime Story: Impeachment is based on Jeffrey Toobin’s book A Vast Conspiracy: The Real Story of the Sex Scandal That Nearly Brought Down a President. In addition to Paulson, it stars Beanie Feldstein as Monica Lewinsky in an inspired casting choice, Clive Owen as Bill Clinton, Annaleigh Ashford as Paula Jones, Anthony Green as Al Gore, and Billy Eicher as Matt Drudge. Lewinsky herself is producing alongside Feldstein, Henrietta Conrad and Jemima Khan.