TV Talk

Impeachment: American Crime Story Tells Monica Lewinsky’s Side of the Clinton Scandal

Plus, a first look at Dominic West and Elizabeth Debicki as Charles and Diana in The Crown, Field of Dreams to become a series, and more of the week's top TV and streaming news.

by | August 21, 2021 | Comments

American Crime Story goes behind the blue dress in its third season, Peacock orders a Field of Dreams series from Michael Schur, Netflix releases a first look at Dominic West and Elizabeth Debicki as Charles and Diana in The Crown, top trailers include Foundation and Scenes from a Marriage, and more of the biggest news in TV and streaming this week.


TOP STORY

Monica Lewinsky Has Her Say in Impeachment: American Crime Story Telling of the Clinton Scandal

For months after her affair with President Bill Clinton became public knowledge, Monica Lewinsky’s life unraveled. Things weren’t going so well for Clinton, either, but Lewinsky had been painted by #TeamClinton as a stalker, as someone obsessed with Clinton. And as part of her agreement with White House investigator Ken Starr, Lewinsky wasn’t even allowed to publicly defend herself.

Lewinsky has since, of course, told her story, even writing a book, Monica’s Story, in 1999, but there’s nothing like seeing your story unfold week after week on a TV screen. With FX’s Impeachment: American Crime Story, viewers will have the chance to understand how the real Lewinsky was not the same woman who was the subject of constant hateful, body-shaming media coverage (often from female writers) and cruel jokes, her life forever altered.

In FX’s Television Critics Association panel for the series, executive producer and writer Sarah Burgess talked about how Lewinsky, a consultant on the project, hoped she would be portrayed, and what Burgess herself felt was most important to impart about Lewinsky.

“There is just no experience comparable to that,” Burgess said. “I always felt it important and very clear that we would work with her and speak to her … about every script page … it feels like in 1998 our culture sort of created a second Monica Lewinsky that doesn’t bear any relationship to the real person.


Impeachment: American Crime Story

(Photo by Tina Thorpe (images 1 and 7)/Kurt Iswarienko (all others)/FX)

“So, I think for me and for Monica, the understanding that a real human arrived in Washington and went through these experiences, understanding the pressures that she was under, the surreal experience she was in, in this affair with the President, and then everything that she went through as the story came out … I mean, really, I’m still shocked when I’m on LexisNexis the way our culture responded to things, like a very vulnerable Barbara Walters interview, the talk about hostility, the sort of dismissiveness, the assumption that she wasn’t smart. All of that was always very important to me to bring forward, and I think to Monica as well.”

Added Beanie Feldstein, who portrays Lewinsky in Impeachment, “I knew that every word that I was saying was approved and had been to Monica first … she would give all her feedback and notes. And by the time it got to me, I was sure that everything in there was something that she felt comfortable with, she felt was real to her life and felt represented her.”

Impeachment: American Crime Story premieres on September 7 and also stars Sarah Paulson as Linda Tripp, Annaleigh Ashford as Paula Jones, Clive Owen as Bill Clinton, and Edie Falco as Hillary Clinton.

In other TCA highlights from the week:

In a Discovery+ session, Legally Blonde star Selma Blair talked about her new documentary, Introducing, Selma Blair, which won the Special Jury Award for Exceptional Intimacy in Storytelling in the Documentary Feature Competition at South by Southwest in March. The incredibly moving doc unfolds Blair’s experience living with and adapting to the changes in her life while she’s dealing with multiple sclerosis. And she revealed during the TCA session that her MS is currently in remission, after a stem cell transplant she underwent last year. “It took about a year after [the transplant] for the inflammation and lesions to really go down, so I was reluctant to talk about it because I felt this need to be more healed,” Blair said. “I don’t have any new lesions forming … There’s still maintenance, treatment and glitches, and wonderful things. Cognitively, I’m very changed, and that’s been the harder part.”

Introducing, Selma Blair will have a limited release in theaters on October 15, and will begin streaming on Discovery+ on Oct. 21.


First Look at Dominic West and Elizabeth Debicki in The Crown

Here they are, the first look at the new Prince Charles and Princess Diana, Dominic West and Elizabeth Debicki, in season 5 of The Crown on Netflix.


NEW TRAILERS: Unrest Plagues the Galactic Empire in Epic Series Adaptation of Isaac Asimov’s Seminal Foundation Novels 

Sci-fi drama Foundation, produced by David S. Goyer, adapts Isaac Asimov’s series of novels — the inspiration for Star Wars and other sci-fi works — about the thousand-year-long saga of a band of exiles, who find that the only way they can save their Galactic Empire from destruction is to go against it. Stars Jared Harris, Lee Pace, and Leah Harvey. Premieres September 24 on Apple TV+.

More trailers and teasers released this week:
• Scenes from a Marriage is the HBO limited series remake of Ingmar Bergman’s classic 1973 Swedish miniseries about, you guessed it, a troubled marriage, this time between Jonathan (Oscar Isaac) and Mira (Jessica Chastain). The series also stars Tovah Feldshuh and Corey Stoll and is executive produced and directed by Hagai Levi (The Affair). Premieres Sept. 12. (HBO)
• Frogger is the game show for everyone who ever wished they could be the little froggy inside the videogame. Real life Frogger means getting soaked, but not, thankfully, squashed. Hosted by Damon Wayans Jr. and Kyle Brandt. Premieres Sept. 9. (Peacock)
• Highway to Heaven is a reboot movie of the 1984-89 NBC drama that starred Michael Landon as an angel sent to Earth to help people. In the remake, Jill Scott plays angel Angela, who is hired by junior high school principal Bruce (Barry Watson) as a guidance counselor, which immediately puts her in the perfect play to spot some people who can use her help. Premieres Nov. 6. (Lifetime)
• Blood Brothers: Malcolm X & Muhammad Ali is the Kenya Barris–produced documentary, based on the book Blood Brothers: The Fatal Friendship Between Muhammad Ali and Malcolm X by authors Randy Roberts and Johnny Smith. Premieres Sept. 9. (Netflix)
• Pen15’s animated special finds Anna and Maya on vacay, but time away from home doesn’t mean leaving their worries behind. Stars Maya Erskine and Anna Konkle. Premieres Aug. 27. (Hulu)
• BMF is the 50 Cent–produced, real-life drama about the crime organization operated by Detroit brothers Demetrius “Big Meech” Flenory and Terry “Southwest T” Flenory. Stars Russell Hornsby Jr. and Demetrius Flenory Jr. (playing his father). Premieres Sept. 26. (Starz)
• NYC Epicenters: 9/11 → 2021½ is a documentary, from Spike Lee, documenting his beloved New York City across the last 20 years, from 9/11 to the COVID pandemic. Premieres Aug. 22. (HBO)
• Bob Ross: Happy Accidents, Betrayal & Greed is a documentary that’s sure hinting there’s something far darker in Bob Ross’s life than the happy little trees he taught us all how to paint. Could it be? Premieres Aug. 25 (Netflix)
• 61st Street is a courtroom drama starring Courtney B. Vance as a public defender caught in the prosecution of deadly drug bust that threatens to unravel the Chicago police department’s code of silence. Created by Peter Moffat (The Night Of and Your Honor) and executive produced by Michael B. Jordan. Coming soon (AMC)
• Nuclear Family is a documentary from filmmaker Ry Russo-Young, who chronicles her own family, growing up with two lesbian moms in the 1970s-80s, until a lawsuit shook up their happy lives. Premieres Sept. 26 (HBO)

For all the latest TV and streaming trailers subscribe to the Rotten Tomatoes TV YouTube channel.


CASTING: Sterling K. Brown and Randall Park Starring in Buddy Comedy at Amazon

Sterling K. Brown and Randall Park

(Photo by Nick Agro/ABC via Getty Images; Michael Tran/Getty Images)

Sterling K. Brown and Randall Park will co-star in an untitled action comedy at Amazon, written by Wu-Tang: An American Saga creator Alex Tse. Both actors will also produce the movie, which THR compares to 48 Hrs., and describes as about two childhood best friends, now on opposite sides of the law, who have to go on the run together until they can clear their names and thwart some international baddies. (THR)

Hank Azaria will co-star with Kyle Chandler, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and Kerry Bishé on the first season of Showtime’s Super Pumped, the anthology series that will focus on the backstory of Uber. Azaria will play Apple CEO Tim Cook, Gordon-Levitt is playing Uber co-founder Travis Kalanick, Chandler is playing Texas venture capitalist Bill Gurley, and Bishé will play one of Uber’s first employees. (Variety)

The O.C. alum Peter Gallagher is joining the 18th season of Grey’s Anatomy as Dr. Alan Hamilton, who meets Meredith the season opener, but knew her mother a long time ago. Kate Burton, as Ellis Grey, will also appear in the new season, which premieres Sept. 30.

The Americans star Noah Emmerich will star in AMC’s Dark Winds, a Western psychological thriller from creator Graham Roland and executive producers Robert Redford and George R.R. Martin in which Emmerich will play an FBI agent trying to boost his dying career by solving a robbery, but only if he can secure the assistance of a Navajo Trial Police lieutenant played by Longmire’s Zahn McClarnon. The six-episode drama is based on author Tony Hillerman’s Leaphorn & Chee book series. (Deadline)

We Own This City, the upcoming Baltimore police limited series from The Deuce creators David Simon and George Pelecanos, has added Treat Williams, Gabrielle Carteris, Dominick Lombardozzi, and Dagmara Domińczyk. (Deadline)

Academy Award–winner Tim Robbins (Mystic River) has signed on for Wool, the Apple TV+ drama from Justified creator Graham Yost. Based on author Hugh Howey’s book of the same name, the series is set in an apocalyptic future where a community lives in a silo hundreds of feet underground and follow a system of rules they think is meant to keep them safe. Robbins will play the silo’s tech guy, opposite Rebecca Ferguson (Mission: Impossible 7), who plays an engineer for the silo. (THR)

Big Sky star and out trans non-binary performer Jesse James Keitel has joined the cast of Peacock’s Queer as Folk reboot, playing a party girl trying to get more serious about life and grow up. (Variety)

Eminem will play White Boy Rick on BMF, the 50 Cent-produced fact-based Starz drama. Detroit rapper Eminem will play Rick, a teenage FBI informant who was in a gang and was in prison until last year. (The Wrap)

British comedian Lenny Henry, already starring in Amazon’s upcoming Lord of the Rings series, will co-star with lead Michelle Yeoh in The Witcher prequel Blood Origin. (Deadline)

GLOW star Betty Gilpin is reuniting with GLOW co-star Alison Brie and series creators Liz Flahive and Carly Mensch on Roar, an adaptation of author Cecelia Ahern’s short story book of the same name that also stars Cynthia Erivo and Merritt Wever. Gilpin will play a woman whose husband thinks she is so beautiful he builds her a shelf to sit on in their house. (Deadline)


PRODUCTION & DEVELOPMENT: Field of Dreams, the TV Series, Ordered by Peacock from Michael Schur

FIELD OF DREAMS, Kevin Costner, 1989.

(Photo by (c) Universal/courtesy Everett Collection)

Peacock announced a straight-to-series order for Field of Dreams, an adaptation of the classic Kevin Costner movie, written and executive produced by baseball superfan Michael Schur. The movie’s producer, Lawrence Gordon, will also be an executive producer on the project, which will “reimagine the mixture of family, baseball, Iowa, and magic that makes the movie so enduring and beloved.” The series comes on the heels of the Major League Baseball Field of Dreams game between the New York Yankees and the Chicago White Sox on August 12.

The Witcher showrunner Lauren Schmidt Hissrich has signed an overall deal to create, write, and produce scripted content for Netflix. Hissrich, whose second season of The Witcher will premiere on Netflix on December 17, is also an executive producer on the live-action prequel series The Witcher: Blood Origin and on the anime series The Witcher: Nightmare of the Wolf.

Back to the drawing board – and a lineup of additional guest hosts. Nine days after Jeopardy! executive producer Mike Richards’ hiring as the talk show’s new host shocked most viewers, he resigned from the hosting gig after The Ringer writer Claire McNear (the author of the fantastic Jeopardy! book Answers in the Form of Questions) wrote about a trove of 2013-14 podcasts in which Richards, then a producer on The Price Is Right, made sexist, offensive comments about women, Asians, Jewish people, and developmentally disabled people. After he apologized, and took the podcasts offline, fans and various rights organizations demanded further investigation by Jeopardy! producer Sony. On Friday, Richards resigned the host position, though was still, at the time, the show’s EP.

The recent 100th birthday of Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry is the occasion for a biopic about him, produced by his Roddenberry Entertainment. Emmy winner Adam Mazer, who wrote the 2010 HBO Jack Kevorkian movie You Don’t Know Jack, starring Al Pacino, wrote the script, and Deadline reports casting and the search for a director is up next. Roddenberry, who was also a WWII combat pilot, a member of the LAPD, and the first TV writer to earn a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, died in 1991. (Deadline)

If MTV’s gonna make up an award, there are few bands more deserving than the Foo Fighters. The Dave Grohl-fronted group will receive the inaugural Global Icon Award at the MTV Video Music Awards on Sept. 12.

Oscar-nominated Hong Kong director Derek Tsang (Better Days) is the first director signed on for Netflix’s sci-fi epic Three-Body Problem. The first post-Game of Thrones series with David Benioff and Dan Weiss as showrunners, the series is based on Chinese author Liu Cixin’s trilogy of the same name, about when humans confirm the existence of alien life, and prepare for the unfriendly beings to arrive from their world. (THR)

The Academy of Country Music Awards will move from CBS to Amazon. In 2022, Prime Video will begin streaming the annual awards show.

With Interview with the Vampire already in the works for 2022 – with Australian actor Sam Reid (The Astronaut Wives Club) cast as Lestat – AMC is now developing another of Anne Rice’s works as a possible series. The network has opened a writers room for Lives of the Mayfair Witches, based on Rice’s three-book story of the same name. Masters of Sexproducers Esta Spaulding and Michelle Ashford will be writers and executive producers, with Spaulding as the showrunner, if the show is picked up to series. Last year, AMC acquired the rights to Rice’s works, encompassing 18 titles, including the Vampire Chronicles and Mayfair Witches series.

HBO Max has ordered Fionna and Cake, a spin-off of Cartoon Network’s beloved Adventure Time that focuses on sword-carrying Fionna and her talking cat and BFF Cake, as they “embark on a multiverse-hopping adventure and journey of self-discovery … while a powerful new antagonist, determined to track them down and erase them from existence, lurks in the shadows.”

The book that inspired Oscar Best Picture winner The English Patient is now becoming a drama series for the BBC. The series is not an adaptation of the movie. Instead it’s a “new interpretation of author Michael Ondaatje’s 1992 novel set in World War II. Either way, bet Elaine Benes would still hate it. (Deadline)

Paramount+ is in production on a second season of The Real World Homecoming, this time gathering together the cast from the second ever season of the show, set in Los Angeles in 1993, Realityblurred.com reports. Everyone, according to the site, is scheduled to return, except then-business student Aaron Behle, and Irish music journalist Dominic Griffin, who may make a guest appearance. David Edwards, Tami Roman, Beth Stolarczyk, Irene Berrera-Kearns, Jon Brennan, Glen Naessens, and Beth Anthony are expected to return for Homecoming. (Reality Blurred)

Lifetime has ordered Flowers in the Attic: The Origin, a limited series prequel to the creepy V.C. Andrews classic Flowers in the Attic. The series will be based on Garden of Shadows, a novel written by Andrew Neiderman. The story unfolds as “headstrong and determined Olivia Winfield (Jemima Rooper) is working alongside her beloved father (Harry Hamlin) when she finds herself unexpectedly wooed by one of the nation’s most eligible bachelors, Malcolm Foxworth (Max Irons).” A whirlwind romance leads to Olivia and Malcolm married, to her discovery of his dark side, and “to her inevitable — and notorious — decision to lock her grandchildren in the attic.” Also starring: Kate Mulgrew, Kelsey Grammer, Paul Wesley, Alana Boden, Hannah Dodd, T’Shan Williams, and Callum Kerr.

The Daily Show alum Wyatt Cenac, who was also a writer on King of the Hill, has signed an overall deal with Warner Bros. Animation and Cartoon Network Studios to create new animated series for kids, adults, and families, as well as assist on other animated projects being developed at the two studios.


Nestflix Compiles TV and Movies’ Best Fake TV and Movies

Nestflix

(Photo by Nestflix)

Netflix, meet Nestflix, a wonderfully clever and fun parody site that catalogs (with clips and photos) the fake TV shows and movies featured in real TV shows and movies. The Rural Juror from 30 Rock? It’s there. Mac & C.H.E.E.S.E. from Friends? Got it. Sunrise Bay from Schitt’s Creek? Of course. It’s the best new way to procrastinate in your day, organized by genre.


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