9 things that surprised me in the new ‘Impeachment: American Crime Story’ trailer

Beanie Feldstein as Monica Lewinsky in 'Impeachment: American Crime Story'
Beanie Feldstein as Monica Lewinsky in ‘Impeachment: American Crime Story.’ FX
  • FX released the first official trailer for “Impeachment: American Crime Story” on Thursday.
  • The two-minute preview looks at the fallout from Bill Clinton’s affair with Monica Lewinsky.
  • There were a few surprises in the trailer, like Sarah Paulson’s transformation into Linda Tripp.
  • Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Sarah Paulson is unrecognizable as Linda Tripp in the new “Impeachment: American Crime Story” trailer.
Linda Tripp and Sarah Paulson as Linda Tripp
Linda Tripp and Sarah Paulson as Linda Tripp. AP Photo/Doug Mills/FX
Sarah Paulson looks almost identical to Linda Tripp in the first official trailer for “Impeachment: American Crime Story,” released on Thursday.

Paulson wears a blonde wig and heavy makeup to play the late American civil servant in the 10-part season. Set photos of Paulson as Tripp went viral in April, with many Twitter users expressing bewilderment at how closely Paulson resembled Tripp with the hair and makeup. The trailer marks the first time we’ve seen the transformation in action.

The latest “American Crime Story” season tells the story of the impeachment of former president Bill Clinton (played by Clive Owen) which started with an affair he had with a White House intern named Monica Lewinsky (played by Beanie Feldstein). 

Clinton and Lewinsky’s affair, and his efforts to hide the relationship, led to the president getting impeached by the House of Representatives in December 1998. He was acquitted by the Senate in early 1999

The affair first became public after the late Tripp, who was a White House employee and Lewinsky’s coworker, recorded phone conversations between the two women where Lewinsky revealed she was having an affair with Clinton. (Tripp died in April 2020 at the age of 70.)

The trailer shows Lewinsky and Tripp becoming close friends, the two women talking on the phone, and Tripp revealing tapes of her calls with Lewinsky to the press.

The trailer features Tripp’s perspective and point-of-view more than expected.
Sarah Paulson as Linda Tripp.
Sarah Paulson as Linda Tripp. FX
The “Impeachment” trailer opens with an unidentified male voice telling a group of White House West Wing interns that they are about to work with “people who run the world.” 

Seconds later, we hear Tripp talk about a woman she is “very close to” (Lewinsky) who is having an affair with Clinton.

Tripp spends the next minute of the trailer taping her calls with Lewinsky, re-evaluating her friendship with the young woman, and exposing the affair to the press. 

After the viewers have heard from Tripp, the second half of the trailer recreates some of the fallout Clinton and Lewinsky faced after the news of their affair became public, including an angry Hillary Clinton (played by Edie Falco) throwing a glass flower vase at Clinton.

On the flip side, Feldstein as Lewinsky has barely any lines in the two-minute-long preview.
Beanie Feldstein as Monica Lewinsky
Beanie Feldstein as Monica Lewinsky. FX
We only hear from Lewinsky twice in Thursday’s trailer — once when she’s presumably on the phone with Tripp and then again when her face is flashed across TV scenes after her relationship with Clinton has become public.

“That’s me, that’s my face,” a horrified Lewinsky says while watching herself on TV. 

Despite limited dialogue, we see several closeups of the then-White House intern throughout the trailer, usually paired with dramatic music.

Feldstein is seen wearing a blue dress in the first shot of her in the trailer, which is possibly a nod to Lewinsky’s infamous blue dress.
Beanie Feldstein as Monica Lewinsky
A possible nod to the infamous blue dress. FX
In 1998, officials investigating Clinton during his impeachment used a blue cocktail dress that the former intern owned to investigate her affair with the politician.

Lewinsky said at the time of the investigation that she had worn the blue dress during a sexual encounter with Clinton a year prior and that the outfit contained his semen, which an FBI laboratory confirmed through a blood test done on the former president, CBS reported in 1998

The “Impeachment” trailer also features a quick shot of a reluctant Clinton undergoing a blood test and a closeup of a vial of his blood, so clearly that particular detail is being included.

Falco perfectly echoes Hillary Clinton’s recognizable style in the trailer.
Edie Falco as Hillary Clinton
Edie Falco as Hillary Clinton. FX
Falco closely mimics the former first lady’s style and mannerisms by wearing her hair in a short blonde bob and rocking a powerful blue suit and sunglasses in her first appearance in the trailer.
Owen flawlessly copies Clinton’s head tilt and his hand movements as he said: “I did not have sexual relations with that woman.”
Clive Owen as Bill Clinton
Clive Owen as Bill Clinton. AP/FX
In January 1998, Clinton denied having an affair with Lewinsky, both under oath while testifying in a separate sexual harassment suit (brought against him by Paula Jones) and then again at a press conference.

In the trailer, Owen copies Clinton’s media appearance word-for-word without a single finger out of place. 

In late 1998, articles of impeachment brought against Clinton by the House of Representatives charged him with having lied to a grand jury and committed perjury by denying his relationship with Lewinsky while under oath.

A scene from “Impeachment” included in the trailer recreates a famous picture of Clinton and Lewinsky taken at a 1996 White House party.
A scene from 'Impeachment: American Crime Story'
A scene from ‘Impeachment: American Crime Story.’ FX
In that particular photo, Clinton and Lewinsky were photographed hugging at a White House lawn party held in November 1996.

When the photograph was taken, the two would have been a year into their relationship, which began in November 1995 and continued until May 1997.

The trailer sets the tone for the intense media scrutiny that the then 24-year-old Lewinsky faced after the public found out about her affair with Clinton in 1998.
Scene from 'Impeachment: American Crime Story' showing a CNN control room
The CNN control room from the ‘Impeachment’ trailer. FX
“The press will destroy her,” an unnamed voice says in Thursday’s trailer, about Lewinsky.

The trailer also features scenes depicting a CNN control room and paparazzi following Lewinsky around in a van.

News aggregation website Drudge Report and its founder, Matt Drudge, make a quick appearance in the the trailer.
Drudge Report shown on 'Impeachment: American Crime Story'
Drudge Report showed on ‘Impeachment: American Crime Story.’ FX
Although surprising, Matt Drudge and Drudge Report’s appearance in the trailer for “Impeachment” shouldn’t be unexpected — In January 1998, Drudge Report revealed that Newsweek had a story in the works about Clinton’s affair with Lewinsky, essentially exposing the affair to the world.

In a 2018 look back at the Clinton impeachment, The Washington Post said that the Drudge Report bombshell was a “scoop-of-a-scoop” that “set off a media frenzy that marked the start of the Clinton scandal that would consume much of the rest of Clinton’s presidency.”

Check out the new trailer below:

“Impeachment: American Crime Story” premieres September 7 on FX.