Ryan Murphy‘s American Crime Story has tackled the tragedies of O. J. Simpson and Gianni Versace in its first two seasons, but it’s taking a different route for season three. Impeachment: American Crime Story will focus on the Bill Clinton–Monica Lewinsky sex scandal, and after hiring Beanie Feldstein to play Lewinsky, the show has now found its Clinton: Clive Owen.
Sarah Paulson, an American Crime Story and American Horror Story veteran, will play Linda Tripp, while Annaleigh Ashford plays Paula Jones. There will be a small Hillary Clinton role, but producers are still casting. Sarah Burgess is the head writer this year, with the season based on Jeffrey Toobin‘s book A Vast Conspiracy: The Real Story Of The Sex Scandal That Nearly Brought Down A President.
Casting any actor to play such a well known figure, especially a relatively recent president, is always going to be a tricky proposition. It’s an intriguing choice to cast a distinctively British actor like Owen to play such a notable American. But it’s not necessarily bad. Owen has always been good, although these are the kind of roles he’s usually shied away from.
However, American Crime Story has a history of left-field casting choices working out. No one expected David Schwimmer as Robert Kardashian to be a hit, and there were questions about Cuba Gooding Jr. as O.J. Simpson. Those worked out. There’s no reason to say Owen can’t surprise everyone.
It will be interesting to see Owen’s take on Clinton, and the angles the show tackles the sex scandal from. There have been great retrospectives on the incident in recent years, with Slate’s Slow Burn podcast doing a particularly thorough and fascinating analysis. Hopefully American Crime Story can do a similarly inquisitive take in its narrative form.