5:45am PT by Marisa Guthrie
Monica Lewinsky to Appear in ‘The Impeachment of Bill Clinton’ Docuseries (Exclusive)
Twenty years after Bill Clinton became only the second president to be impeached, A&E is producing what strives to be the definitive examination of the investigation that consumed the national media and forever altered the lives of the principals involved. The Impeachment of Bill Clinton (working title) includes explosive never-before-seen footage of Clinton and Monica Lewinsky, whose life was turned upside down by special counsel Ken Starr’s investigation, as well as new interviews with Paula Jones, Kathleen Willey and Juanita Broaddrick, who alleged that Clinton raped her in 1978. The six-hour series from Alex Gibney’s Jigsaw Productions and directed by Blair Foster (Rolling Stone: Stories From the Edge) will bow Nov. 18 on A&E and air over three nights.
Elaine Frontain Bryant, executive vp and head of programming at A&E, calls it “a real-life political thriller and the most in-depth and intimate account of how one of the biggest scandals in our nation’s history unfolded, forever changing the landscape of American politics.” The project includes revealing interviews with Lewinsky and takes on new relevance in the wake of #MeToo and at a moment when another special counsel investigation is looking into a sitting president. It is the first time Lewinsky, who has re-emerged in recent years, has talked so candidly about her experiences. She sat for several interviews with Foster and Gibney; executive producer of the miniseries Jemima Khan — who founded Instinct Productions with Henrietta Conrad and who worked with Gibney on the Wikileaks film We Steal Secrets, helped broker the first meeting several months ago. (Instinct also is a co-producer on the A&E series.)
In an episode seen by The Hollywood Reporter, Lewinsky speaks frankly about betrayal (her friend Linda Tripp secretly recorded their conversations), of being in love with Clinton (she details how they would arrange to meet with the help of Clinton’s personal secretary, Betty Currie) and that fateful tryst during which she was wearing the blue Gap dress. She went out to dinner that night with friends, she recalls in the film, and no one commented that she had “stuff” all over her dress.
Lewinsky, now 45, first re-engaged with the topic earlier this year when she penned a first-person piece for Vanity Fair reflecting on her experiences through the current #MeToo prism. (The piece included the excruciating detail of running into Starr at a West Village restaurant on Christmas Eve in 2017.) But mostly she has remained reticent. On Monday (Sept. 4) she cut short a live interview at a TV conference in Jerusalem when the interviewer asked her if she expected a private apology from Bill Clinton. (Lewinsky later tweeted an explanation that there were “clear parameters” for her appearance and that the interviewer was aware that the topic was “off limits” and that the questions were “blatant disregard” of the agreement.) For his part, Clinton seemed woefully unprepared for questions about Lewinsky when he began doing press last spring for his mystery novel with James Patterson.
By the time she’s finished producing the series, Foster will have conducted more than 60 interviews — including with Clinton accusers Jones, Willey and Broaddrick, as well as several people close to the Clintons, like lawyer Jane Sherburne and campaign strategist James Carville, though not the Clintons themselves. “We would have loved to interview them,” Foster tells THR. “They’re certainly aware of the project.” She has not yet given up on the Clintons, or Linda Tripp, although Tripp has turned her down multiple times. But she acknowledges that the Clintons are highly unlikely.
“My goal for this series was to do a deep dive into the facts and speak to as many people as possible who were involved,” says Foster. “The deeper I got the clearer it became that this series is as much about the present day as it is about the 1990s.”