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Actress Beanie Feldstein told W magazine that she believes she’d “probably” have acted similarly to Monica Lewinsky if she was in a comparable situation to the affair that inspired her role in FX’s upcoming limited series “Impeachment: American Crime Story.”
Feldstein — who is best known for her role in 2018’s “Lady Bird” — stars as a 22-year-old Lewinsky in “Impeachment” which chronicles the impeachment of former President Bill Clinton (played by Clive Owen) and the intense media scrutiny Lewinsky faced after the public found out about her affair with him.
“Monica and I are cut from the same cloth in so many ways. We’re both Jewish girls from L.A. who listen to show tunes on the treadmill!” Feldstein said.
“But still, I never felt less in my comfort place than when I was playing Monica. Obviously, I’m queer, so I don’t know if I’d flirt with the president, but who knows? When Clinton shined his light on you, there was no better feeling in the world. It wouldn’t matter if you were male, female, nonbinary, queer. When that man put his spotlight on you, the world fell away. And if I was 22 and the most powerful person in the world focused his high beams on me, I would probably do the exact same thing as Monica.”
Feldstein — who is also a producer on “Impeachment” — added that she and Lewinsky have met only once in person due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but through her role on the show she felt a deep connection to events in Lewinsky’s life and felt an obligation to portray them correctly.
“I felt gutted by some of the things that Monica went through,” she said. “My task is to be Monica’s bodyguard—to put my body in front of hers. It’s my job to portray her pain because I feel so much for her.”
Feldstein later added that Lewinsky’s fame “wasn’t positive,” which she could sympathize with.
“When you’re hurting, none of that fancy stuff like photoshoots or invitations to parties matters,” she said. “From my own life experience, you can be on Broadway or at an awards show, but there’s always pain beneath the surface. That nuance is very hard to see from the outside.”
Monica Lewinsky was an unpaid intern at the White House in 1995 when she and Bill Clinton began an affair. Over the course of a year and a half, the pair had nearly a dozen sexual encounters in the White House. In April 1996, Lewinsky was transferred to the Pentagon. But she was catapulted into the public consciousness years later when investigators began looking into her relationship with the former President.
The House of Representatives impeached Bill Clinton in 1998 following the investigation, charging him with lying under oath to a federal grand jury and obstructing justice. Clinton was acquitted by the Senate.
Last week, Feldstein told journalists at a virtual Television Critics Association panel that Monica Lewinsky approved “every word” of her dialogue in “Impeachment.”
“When I received the scripts, I knew that every word that I was saying was approved and had been to Monica first,” she said.