Sarah Paulson Looks Unrecognizable as Linda Tripp on 'Impeachment' : 'American Crime Story' Set

Sarah Paulson plays Linda Tripp, who was best known for exposing the Bill Clinton–Monica Lewinsky affair

Sarah Paulson is Unrecognizable on the set of "American Crime Story: Impeachment.
Photo: The Image Direct

It's safe to say that Sarah Paulson is nailing her transformation into late U.S. civil servant Linda Tripp for Impeachment: American Crime Story.

In a new photo taken in Los Angeles on Sunday, Paulson was photographed dressed in character as Tripp on the show's set. The actress' embodiment of Tripp made her look completely unrecognizable as she donned a white blouse and pearl necklace beneath a brown suit. Her hair also resembled Tripp's style from the 1990s.

Season 3 of American Crime Story was announced in 2019 and will chronicle former U.S. President Bill Clinton's controversial affair with his White House intern Monica Lewinsky. The scandal ultimately led to his impeachment in 1998.

Paulson, 46, stars as Tripp, who played a major role in exposing the affair between Clinton, 74, and Lewinsky, 47. Tripp died in April 2020 at age 70.

Clive Owen (Clinton), Edie Falco (Hillary Clinton) Beanie Feldstein (Lewinsky), Anthony Green (Al Gore), Margo Martindale (Lucianne Goldberg), Annaleigh Ashford (Paula Jones), Billy Eichner (Matt Drudge) and Betty Gilpin (Ann Coulter) are also in the cast.

Sarah Paulson attends the FYC red carpet for FX's "American Horror Story: Apocalypse" at NeueHouse Hollywood on May 18, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jean Baptiste Lacroix/Getty Images) Linda Tripp talks to the press outside the Federal Courthouse July 29, 1998 in Washington, DC. After finishing her testimony before Kenneth Starr's grand jury, Linda Tripp, whose tape recordings of Monica Lewinsky led to an investigation of an alleged presidential affair, spoke at length publicly for the first time, saying she was an average American. (photo by Dave Tracy)
Sarah Paulson, Linda Tripp. Jean Baptiste Lacroix/Getty; Dave Tracy/Getty

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Around the time principal photography on the series began last November, Paulson said that playing Tripp is "more complicated than anything else [she's] ever done."

"Unlike when I played Marcia Clark [on The People v. O. J. Simpson: American Crime Story] — I've played real people before — there was a real opportunity to right a collective wrong in terms of how we thought about her and her purported failure in that trial. But with Linda, it's a little more complicated," Paulson said on The Ellen DeGeneres Show. "She behaves in ways that are a little bit more confusing."

In order to play Tripp, Paulson — who is also a producer on the series — previously revealed at the New Yorker Festival in 2019 that she was "going to gain some weight." The Ratched star also wanted to ensure that she gave her most authentic performance as Tripp.

"I'm not looking for a way to make her likable," Paulson added. "I'm not worried about whether or not you all like me as Linda Tripp."

Teasing her performance, executive producer Ryan Murphy said that Paulson's embodiment of Tripp is "very transformative."

"It reminds me a lot of what Christian Bale did a couple years ago -- that sort of dedication," Murphy, 55, told Entertainment Tonight in April while referencing Bale's Vice transformation. "We talked a lot about how she has to keep it up for many many months until it's done shooting, so it's hard."

American Crime Story first premiered on FX in 2016 with a story centered on the controversial real-life trial against O.J. Simpson. For its sophomore run in 2018, the narrative focused on the murder of Italian fashion designer Giovanni Maria "Gianni" Versace.

Impeachment: American Crime Story is set to premiere Sept. 7 on FX.

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