Making a Political Anti-Hero in Sarah Paulson’s Linda Tripp – The Hollywood Reporter

Sarah Paulson earned her eighth Emmy nomination this season for her portrayal of Linda Tripp on FX’s Impeachment: American Crime Story, delivering a nuanced and compelling portrayal of the official whose involvement in the Clinton-Lewinsky affair made her a familiar name after delivering it. recorded phone calls between her and Monica Lewinsky (played in the limited series by Beanie Feldstein) to independent counsel Kenneth Starr: conversations in which the latter reveals her sexual relationship with President Bill Clinton while she was a White House intern.

For showrunner Sarah Burgess, who is also nominated for an Emmy for Outstanding Writing for an Anthology or Limited Series, Tripp wasn’t the villain of the piece, despite his infamous betrayal of his former friend and former Pentagon colleague Lewinsky.

“It’s not that she’s not responsible for her actions, but the insult to Linda at the time, in the late ’90s, was that she loved the drama of it all,” says Burgess. Although there are moments throughout the series where Tripp is portrayed as the embittered government employee who has notions of a higher purpose, and has extreme disdain for Clinton, whom she holds partly responsible for her own unsatisfactory professional career, the character of Impeachment. she is far from the attention-seeking busybody she was made out to be.

Instead, Tripp is a woman on a passionate, patriotic crusade: to reveal the truth about a leader she despises and believes is bad for the country, as well as using her power to take advantage of the 24-year-old. Lewinsky. Tripp doesn’t come across as a villain, especially in the early moments of her surreptitious tapes of the private phone calls between her and Lewinsky. From his perspective, Lewinsky needs protection from a predator, and as Impeachment shows, the destruction of their friendship was an event that deeply affected Tripp.

“I don’t think Linda was like a psycho who would just forget about it the moment it happened,” says Burgess.

Its nominated episode, “Man Handled,” represents the moment when Tripp realizes the gravity of his actions, not only their effects on the president’s legacy, but also their effects on the young and naïve Lewinsky. The episode sees Lewinsky ambushed and arrested by the independent counsel’s office after Tripp’s tapes reveal that Lewinsky perjured herself in an affidavit in the Paula Jones case denying the affair. The night before, Tripp meets with Jones’ lawyers, and begins to realize that his great view of patriotic duty is offset by his betrayal of Lewinsky.

“Linda, at the beginning of the show, is someone who wants to feel important and be in the mix of everything,” says Burgess. “When you’re actually in a very important meeting with these lawyers, [one might think] I should love him. But in reality, I was suffering. This is what he has been working on all along. He has this deep anger and resentment toward this president, and he has an opportunity to help them get him. But the person he is thinking about and fixating on is Monica.

This sense of regret, Burgess says, contrasts with the glee that “Republican elves” like Ann Coulter (played by Cobie Smulders) express about Clinton’s impending downfall. “They have no skin in the game,” says Burgess. But for Tripp, the moment marks the almost tragic turning point that would cement his own legacy in American history. “This is the beginning of Linda living in her anticlimactic aftermath,” adds Burgess, “where she’s going to have to tell the rest of her life and tell her story.”

This story first appeared in the August Independent issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.

Source link

You May Also Like