Monica Lewinsky Says She Asked to Include Thong-Flashing Scene in Impeachment
The FX drama, premiering Sept. 7, follows the infamous affair between then-White House intern Lewinsky (played by Beanie Feldstein) and former President Bill Clinton (Clive Owen) that ultimately led to his impeachment.
Lewinsky, 48, serves as a producer on the show and recently told The Hollywood Reporter that she fought to include a certain scene that writer Sarah Burgess said she left out of her script for fear of "retraumatizing Monica."
The infamous moment, in which Lewinsky flashes a sliver of her thong to Clinton, was featured in the Starr Report, the report from counsel Ken Starr that encompassed the findings of his investigation into the then-president.
"Listen, I would've loved to have been really selfish and said, 'That's great that you guys think we don't have to show that, fantastic,' but I'm incredibly experienced in understanding how people see this story," Lewinsky told THR, adding that she thought she'd be blamed if the scene was omitted.
"So, ultimately, I felt two things: One was that I shouldn't get a pass because I'm a producer; and two, that it was unfair to the team and to the project because it would leave everybody vulnerable," she added.
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Elsewhere in the interview, Lewinsky noted that there was one part of the show she steered clear of giving notes on.
"The one area where I felt less comfortable weighing in for myriad obvious reasons was on the more personal scenes with the Clintons," she said referring to the president and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, played by Edie Falco. "I just felt that that was better left to other people."
Lewinsky also shared how she helped Feldstein, 28, prepare for her role, explaining that the pair sent videos to each other, texted and spent "several hours on Zoom" going through her family pictures.
"I just thought, I'm not going to sit down with Beanie like a new therapist, 'OK, let me tell you the story of my life,' and this way she'd get to understand my world in a more organic way since we couldn't hang out [due to COVID-19]," she said. "But I haven't done any of this before, and it was hard for me — I'm a total control freak."
"But you've been so giving with me," Feldstein chimed in. "You never asked me to do something a certain way or you never said, 'How were you planning to do this or that?' You let me find my own you in a very beautiful way — and you've been very open with all of us throughout this whole process. And yeah, there were times where I'd text her, like, 'So, what nail polish color were you wearing here?'"
Feldstein also revealed she had no hesitation when she was asked to play Lewinsky.
"It was an instant yes," she said. "Playing someone real is a huge undertaking — playing someone who texts you is a completely different thing. I mean, I'm playing someone who sends me videos, and I'll go to respond, and I'm fully wearing her hair. But of course it was daunting because I just want to do right by her. All that matters to me is what she thinks."
Impeachment: American Crime Story premieres Sept. 7 on FX.