Clive Owen as Bill Clinton

As our current embarrassment of a president is bracing for possible impeachment, FX is moving forward with Impeachment: American Crime Story, which dramatizes the 1998 impeachment of President Bill Clinton. And now the show’s producers have found their president: Clive Owen (Children of Men) will step into the shoes of the former Arkansas governor, and we’ll be eagerly waiting to hear if Owen tries to imitate Clinton’s distinctive Southern accent.

Deadline reports that Owen has been cast to play former President Bill Clinton, who held the highest office in the land from 1993 until 2001. In 1998, Clinton was impeached by the House of Representatives for perjury and obstruction of justice surrounding his extramarital affair with White House intern Monica Lewinsky; Clinton was acquitted by the Senate and remained in office for his full term.

Monica Lewinsky is producing this season alongside ACS head honcho Ryan Murphy, and the season has already cast Beanie Feldstein as Lewinsky, Sarah Paulson as Linda Tripp, and Annaleigh Ashford as Paula Jones. Now Owen joins them, but Hillary Clinton has yet to be cast.

Clinton himself appeared in the 1996 Sinbad movie First Kid (and actually has a new Showtime series in the works right now), and he’s been portrayed by several people in the media before, notably by Phil Hartman and Darrell Hammond for years on Saturday Night Live and by Dennis Quaid in the 2010 movie The Special Relationship, where Quaid was nominated for an Emmy, a Screen Actors Guild award, and a Golden Globe for his performance. I’m curious to see how Owen stacks up against those guys – especially Hammond, whose lip-biting impression of Clinton was so pervasive that it’s eclipsed the persona of the actual man in my mind.

The show is written by Sarah Burgess and based on author Jeffrey Toobin’s book A Vast Conspiracy. Here’s the description of the book:

In A Vast Conspiracy, the best-selling author of The Run of His Life casts an insightful, unbiased eye over the most extraordinary public saga of our time – the Clinton sex scandals. A superlative journalist known for the skillfulness of his investigating and the power of his writing, Jeffrey Toobin tells the unlikely story of the events that began over doughnuts in a Little Rock hotel and ended on the floor of the United States Senate, with only the second vote on presidential removal in American history. This is an entirely fresh look at the scandal that very nearly brought down a president.

After nearly being scrapped altogether, filming starts in late March, and the limited series is currently set to premiere on Sunday, September 27, 2020. That’s just a few months before the next presidential election, and you can read FX’s defense of their decision to air such a potentially distracting piece of media at that critical point in the election cycle right here.

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