“American Crime Story: Impeachment” — which was supposed to begin filming in the spring, but didn’t because of the coronavirus pandemic — will now shoot in early fall, Variety has learned. Michael Uppendahl, who has directed other Ryan Murphy productions, such as “Ratched” and “Hollywood,” will take over for Richard Shepard as EP/Producing Director.
Uppendahl has directed multiple episodes of award-winning television, including FX’s “American Horror Story” and “Fargo,” AMC’s “Mad Men” and “The Walking Dead.” He was also co-executive producer/director on the first season of Marvel and FX’s “Legion.”
This third installment of FX on Hulu’s “American Crime Story” will examine President Bill Clinton’s illicit relationship with Monica Lewinsky, and his subsequent impeachment. Beanie Feldstein will portray Lewinsky, and Clive Owen will play Clinton. The cast has remained intact through the delay, with Sarah Paulson as Lewinsky’s betrayer, Linda Tripp; Annaleigh Ashford as Paula Jones; Billy Eichner as Matt Drudge; and Betty Gilpin as Ann Coulter. The role of Hillary Clinton has not yet been cast.
This season of “American Crime Story” has had a winding journey to the screen. Murphy had optioned Jeffrey Toobin’s account of the saga, “A Vast Conspiracy: The Real Sex Scandal that Nearly Brought Down a President,” but put it aside in 2018 after deciding that no one should tell Lewinsky’s story without her involvement. Then in August of 2019, Lewinsky signed on as a producer, and the show was officially greenlit.
At one point, it even had a premiere date of Sept. 27, 2020, which caused a stir due to its proximity to the presidential election (FX chairman John Landgraf defended the decision at the time, saying that passing judgment on the season so far in advance was “toxic”).
That was all before coronavirus up-ended the show once more. Shepard was not the only director to leave the project: Hannah Fidell has also departed in order to focus on her own FX on Hulu show, “A Teacher,” an adaptation of her 2013 movie. “A Teacher,” which stars Kate Mara, will premiere later this year.
During Feldstein’s conversation with Florence Pugh for Variety’s Actors on Actors series last year, she talked about how excited she was to work with Paulson. “I love her more than —”
“Life?” Pugh asked.
“I’ve always been her No. 1 fan. I think I modeled my life after her life in any way that I can,” Feldstein said. “She’s just so funny and warm and giving, and so just to take this journey with her is going to be extremely exciting.”
Filming on “American Crime Story: Impeachment” will begin in Los Angeles this fall, at long last. Meanwhile, production on fellow Murphy FX series “American Horror Story” is getting underway in October, the prolific producer confirmed recently via social media.
Paulson, the star of both “American Story” franchises, shared her concerns about returning to set at a press conference earlier this week.
“The collaborative excitement and that feeling that you’re really making something with all of these people and they are just as invested as you are, feeling that vibrational thing that happens, I don’t know how we’re going to access that with shields, masks and gloves and pods,” Paulson said. “The camaraderie and the community is a thing to really consider what that’s going to be and how we’re going to do that.”