Punisher and Walking Dead star Jon Bernthal has landed a new role, playing the lead in a new American Gigolo TV show for Showtime. According to Deadline, the new show will be a re-imagining of the classic '80s film, which starred Richard Gere and Lauren Hotton. In the Showtime series, Bernthal will play Julian Kaye — the role originated by Gere — as he tried to rebuild his life after he is released from prison 15 years after being sentenced for a crime he didn't commit.
The story will follow Julian as he gets acquainted with the current sex industry in modern-day L.A., while he also seeks to learn more about the setup that landed him behind bars for a decade and a half. Julian also hopes to reconnect with his lost love, Michelle, played by actress Gretchen Mol (Boardwalk Empire). The show will also feature Rosie O’Donnell (SMILF) as a homicide Detective named Sunday, and Lizzie Brocheré (American Horror Story: Asylum) as Isabelle, the heiress to a sex work ring. Ray Donovan actor Leland Orser will also star, playing self-made tech billionaire, Richard Stratton.
#AmericanGigolo starring Jon Bernthal has been ordered to series at Showtime.
Bernthal stars as Julian Kaye, who has been released from prison 15 years after he’s been falsely arrested for murder and is struggling to find his footing in the modern day LA sex industry. pic.twitter.com/tRDHNRiBzI— Film Updates (@FilmUpdates) June 15, 2021
Wayne Brady — beloved improv comedian (Whose Line Is It Anyway?), game show host (Let's Make A Deal), and TV actor (How I Met Your Mother) — will appear in the American Gigolo series as well. Brady is set to guest star as Julian’s best friend and mentor, Lorenzo. Finally, Gabriel LaBelle (The Predator) plays a younger version of Julian, who goes by Johnny.
In a statement on Bernthal's casting, Showtime Networks President of Entertainment Gary Levine said, "If you haven’t already fallen under the spell of Jon Bernthal, get ready. Jon absolutely owns the screen with his searing, brooding and vulnerable performance in this contemporary version of American Gigolo. Writer/director David Hollander brilliantly reimagines the seductive original film, confronting the mystery, the exhilaration and the danger of our deepest desires."
The original American Gigolo was written and directed by Paul Schrader (Taxi Driver, First Reformed), and it is widely considered to be the film that solidified Gere's position as a Hollywood leading man. The film's score, which was composed by Giorgio Moroder, was nominated for a Golden Globe. American Gigolo is also credited with introducing the world to Blondie's hits tune "Call Me."