Sarah Paulson will soon be seen as one of the most controversial figures of the 1990s, portraying Linda Tripp in the upcoming “American Crime Story: Impeachment”.
Paulson, whose acclaimed performance as O.J. Simpson prosecutor Marcia Clark in the first season of “American Crime Story” won her an Emmy, isn’t exactly a dead ringer for the Washington bureaucrat whose covert recordings of friend Monica Lewinsky led to the impeachment of then-president Bill Clinton.
As a result, Paulson spent three hours in hair and makeup, noted a profile in the Los Angeles Times, “being outfitted with prosthetic teeth and a prosthetic nose, as well as a wig modeled after Tripp’s signature ’90s-style helmet of blond hair.” In addition, Paulson worked with a dialect coach and a movement specialist, gained 30 pounds and wore a padded fat suit weighing nearly five pounds in order to recreate Tripp’s physique.
RELATED: Monica Lewinsky Says Reliving Trauma On ‘Impeachment: American Crime Story’ Set Is ‘Bizarre’ & ‘Surreal’
As Paulson told the Times, she understands criticism from those who feel wearing a padded suit for role prevents roles as larger people going to larger actors.
“It’s very hard for me to talk about this without feeling like I’m making excuses,” Paulson explained. “There’s a lot of controversy around actors and fat suits, and I think that controversy is a legitimate one. I think fat phobia is real. I think to pretend otherwise causes further harm. And it is a very important conversation to be had. But that entire responsibility I don’t think falls on the actor for choosing to do something that is arguably — and I’m talking about from the inside out — the challenge of a lifetime. I do think to imagine that the only thing any actor called upon to play this part would have to offer is their physical self is a real reduction of the offering the actor has to make. I would like to believe that there is something in my being that makes me right to play this part. And that the magic of hair and makeup departments and costumers and cinematographers that has been part of moviemaking, and suspension of belief, since the invention of cinema. Was I supposed to say no [to the part]? This is the question.”
In fact, Paulson admitted she would likely have responded differently when offered the role, knowing what she does now.
RELATED: Sarah Paulson Says She Was ‘Underwhelmed’ By ‘AHS: Roanoke’ And Felt ‘Trapped’ By The Season
“I think the thing I think about the most is that I regret not thinking about it more fully,” she said. “And that is an important thing for me to think about and reflect on. I also know it’s a privileged place to be sitting and thinking about it and reflecting on it, having already gotten to do it, and having had an opportunity that someone else didn’t have. You can only learn what you learn when you learn it. Should I have known? Abso-f**king-lutely. But I do now. And I wouldn’t make the same choice going forward.”
“American Horror Story: Impeachment” premieres Tuesday, Sept. 7.