The “Impeachment” showrunner said the flashing scene closely followed the incident in real life.
Sarah Burgess told Insider that she worked with Monica Lewinsky to get the right details.
For the remainder of the series, Burgess said she did her research and made “creative choices.”
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“Impeachment: American Crime Story” writer and showrunner Sarah Burgess said the show’s thong flash scene is “very closely based” on what Monica Lewinsky told her took place in real life.
The final season of the FX anthology follows Clinton’s impeachment (played by Clive Owen) and the fallout from his 18-month affair with then-22-year-old Lewinsky (played by Beanie Feldstein).
The 10-part season also depicts a November 1995 moment when Lewinsky allegedly showed his thong to Clinton while the two were in the White House, shown in the last episode aired Tuesday.
Burgess told Insider that she worked closely with Lewinsky (a producer of the season) to write the scene involving the older politician.
Burgess explained that the script for the second episode initially didn’t have a flashing thong scene. When executive producer Brad Simpson asked Lewinsky for his thoughts on the script, the former White House employee told Simpson the scene should be included. Simpson then brought Lewinsky’s notes to Burgess.
“Then I – either talking to her or she wrote down a description of what happened – and I really wrote in a script very closely based on what she specifically described,” Burgess told Insider on this infamous moment.
She added: “The Starr Report made a lot of events, sounding extremely salacious – which, you know, is sex. Of course it is. At the same time, they made it look more aggressive. than it was. Talking to her, I just made sure that on my script page, that was really what she described because I wanted to get it right. “
Lewinsky previously said in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter that leaving out the flashing thong scene would be “unfair to the team and to the project as it would leave everyone vulnerable” to criticism.
Burgess told Insider that while writing the scripts for “Impeachment,” she did her own research to “take all the information,” then made “creative choices” for each character.
The thong flash scene was the only time she matched the script to what Lewinsky said happened.
Burgess said his research for “Impeachment” involved reading 56 books, FBI and Justice Department documents, and Special Counsel Kenneth Starr’s investigation into the events surrounding Clinton’s impeachment.
“Much of the pandemic has given me time to read all of this very thoroughly,” said Burgess.
She added, “There is never too much research for me. I just took it all and then made my writing decision based on the character I was focusing on.”
“Impeachment: American Crime Story” airs Tuesdays on FX at 10 p.m. ET.
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