Michael Uppendahl has stepped in as director and executive producer on American Crime Story: Impeachment, Ryan Murphy’s upcoming FX limited series about the Bill Clinton-Monica Lewinsky sex scandal. He replaces Richard Shepard, who recently exited the project.
Shepard signed on for the project in January, ahead of the coronavirus pandemic, which shut down all production and shifted all filming schedules, including Impeachment‘s. The show, a co-production of Touchstone Television, FX and Ryan Murphy Productions, was originally set to shoot in early spring. Delayed by the industry-wide shutdown, it is now slated to begin filming in early fall.
The pandemic and the scheduling bottleneck it has created, with shows slowly easing back into production with COVID safety protocols, has led to behind and in front of the camera changes on a number of projects. Another director previously booked for Impeachment also recently pulled out.
As with Shepard, Uppendahl is expected to be one of several producing directors on the series, including EP Murphy.
The third season of American Crime Story will be based on Jeffrey Toobin’s book A Vast Conspiracy: The Real Story of the Sex Scandal That Nearly Brought Down a President. Beanie Feldstein will star as Lewinsky, Clive Owen as Bill Clinton, Annaleigh Ashford as Paula Jones and Billy Eichner as journalist Matt Drudge.
Sarah Burgess is writing and will serve as EP with Uppendahl, Murphy, Nina Jacobson, Brad Simpson, Brad Falchuk, Larry Karaszewski, Scott Alexander, Alexis Martin Woodall, and Sarah Paulson. Lewinsky, Feldstein, Henrietta Conrad and Jemima Khan are producing.
Uppendahl has a long history with Touchstone Television, FX and Ryan Murphy Prods, having shot episodes of Ratched, The Hot Zone, which he exec produced, Fargo, American Horror Story and Legion, whose first season he co-exec produced, as well as Hollywood. He also directed the pilot and co-exec produced the first season of Hulu’s Castle Rock and directed multiple episodes of AMC’s Mad Men and The Walking Dead, Showtime’s Ray Donovan, and Fox’s Glee. Uppendahl is repped by CAA and Industry Entertainment.