Sarah Paulson Shares Her Plan for Playing Linda Tripp in 'Impeachment: American Crime Story'

Impeachment: American Crime Story will focus on the 1998 impeachment proceedings against President Bill Clinton

When it comes to researching a role, Sarah Paulson goes all in.

The actress, 44, shared her process for preparing to play Linda Tripp in Ryan Murphy’s third season of American Crime Story at Saturday’s New Yorker Festival.

To play the White House employee and Monica Lewinsky confidante, Paulson — who won an Emmy and a Golden Globe as Marcia Clark in The People v. O. J. Simpson: American Crime Story — will gain weight. She’s currently filming in Canada, but once the project wraps, she’s setting her diet plan in action.

“I’m going to gain some weight to play her, and I don’t want to wear a suit because I think it will feel very strange,” she said.

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
Sarah Paulson
Sarah Paulson. George Pimentel/Getty
FX The Women of 'American Horror Story' panel, TCA Summer Press Tour, Los Angeles, USA - 09 Aug 2017
Buchan/Variety/REX/Shutterstock

Impeachment: American Crime Story will focus on the 1998 impeachment proceedings against President Bill Clinton. Beanie Feldstein with play Lewinsky, and Annaleigh Ashford will play Paula Jones, alongside Paulson as Tripp. Both Lewinsky and Paulson will be producers on the show.

“I don’t feel like it would be a great idea for me to come to work putting on some kind of faux suit and just all mucked up and not being able to move my face nor feel the feelings that she [Tripp] might have been feeling,” Paulson shared.

Although she plans to fully research her character in November, she does know that Tripp has pursued a different career path after her time in the White House — and says the show hints at it in an early episode.

“I think she does run a Christmas ornament store now. That’s interesting. What makes someone want to do that — like, why Christmas ornaments? There’s a moment in episode 2, I read the first two scripts, where there’s something going on with an ornament. It’s really good. I was like, wow, way to lay it in,” she said.

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Paulson has yet to speak with Tripp, and she said she has “no idea” if she will before filming begins.

Paulson does know that she’s going to play her as authentically as possible, and she said she won’t be trying to change the public’s perception of Tripp.

“I’m not looking for a way to make her likable. I’m not worried about whether or not you all like me as Linda Tripp,” she said.

Impeachment: American Crime Story is set to premiere in September 2020 on FX.

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