As the premiere of “American Crime Story: Impeachment” gets underway, Beanie Feldstein spoke about her character on a Television Critics Association Zoom panel.
Feldstein plays Monica Lewinsky, who was an intern at the White House during President Bill Clinton’s tenure and with whom she had an affair. On the panel, Feldstein said she felt protective of Lewinsky, stating that she thinks Lewinsky “knew that she really had her back.”
Feldstein also spoke about the relationship between the two, starting from when they met before COVID-19 and their communication during the filming and production of the series.
The newest installment of the anthology series centers on the affair between Lewinsky and Clinton, and the resulting impeachment hearings that were held.
Lewinsky herself, has a producer credit on the show and according to head writer Sarah Burgess, and producers Nina Jacobson and Brad Simpson, she also provided feedback on the script written for the series.
Role As Monica Lewinsky
Feldstein was only a toddler in 1995 when Lewinsky, then an intern at the White House, began an affair with Clinton, and when she was five, Lewinsky was in the middle of a hellish investigation into the details of her relationship with the president.
So when asked at a book signing event which real life person she would want to play the most, she didn’t. think much before saying “Maybe I could play Monica Lewinsky.”
At that time, the actress didn’t think it was a possibility and only picked Lewinsky because of personal similarities they had such as, growing up Jewish in L.A and doing theater.
Now that she has actually taken on the role and with the premiere so close, Feldstein said researching the role helped her understand the actual events as an adult because she was too young to understand it when it happened.
“I was as blank of a slate as you could possibly have, given that this is such a known story and it’s a huge American historical moment,” said the actress. “In that way, I didn’t have my own preconceived notions about the situation.”
Feldstein’s Statements About Her Role
When talking about her experience during filming, Feldstein particularly spoke about the sixth episode which focuses on the January 1998 interrogation by Ken Starr, and the FBI which she described as an ’emotional rollercoaster that required her to dig deep to portray the strength and pain that Lewinsky felt.
She also said that to perform her role properly, she had to do her best to understand the real-life situation. She said; “Listening to the tapes was obviously something I had to do, but was very emotionally taxing, they are so raw and open.”
She also stated; “When I received the scripts, I knew that every word that I was saying was approved and had been to Monica first, I was sure that everything in there was something that she felt comfortable with, she felt was real to her life and felt represented her.”
When asked about how she felt filming particularly difficult scenes, she said “Every time it got hard, I would just say to myself, ‘This is Monica. This is for Monica. That was sort of my dialogue with myself.”
Relationship With Monica Lewinsky
Feldstein spoke about her communication and relationship with Lewinsky, saying that they regularly texted and sent videos throughout 2020.
She said the information she got from Lewinsky was of a more private nature with more personal than historical details. She noted; “I asked her about nail polish, little detailed things are fun to fill in and make things feel very specific.”
She went on to say “Monica is really a bundle of contradictions, she’s extremely naive and yet extremely savvy. She’s incredibly confident and yet remarkably insecure. So that push and pull inside of her was really what I was focused on. It wasn’t something that she and I talked about. Doing all this research on her, I imagine it could be a little odd. I wanted her to get to know me too.”
Speaking more on Lewinsky, she said the show will reveal a yet unseen side to the public, saying “Monica is a deeply loyal person, and in the film, you learn more about her familial relationships, her previous romantic relationships, and how they have all led her to this moment in her life.”
Other On-screen Appearances
Feldstein’s casting as Lewinsky came when the actress was just fresh off her breakout role in the Oscar-nominated film “Lady Bird.”
She has also appeared in comedy films such as “Neighbors 2” and as the lead in “Booksmart.” According to the actress, her role as Lewinsky in Impeachment is definitely the most difficult and intense performance in her career.
View this post on Instagram
Impeachment will air on September 7, with new episodes streaming on Wednesdays via Hulu. Feldstein is very excited for viewers to see a fresh and different perspective of the whole saga, she expressed her hope that it helps people understand the different strings in the relationship between Lewinsky, Clinton and Tripp, and that people understand the trust and betrayal that occurred between the characters.