In the 1980's, it was Richard Gere – today, it's Jon Bernthal turn, as the The Walking Dead and Marvel's The Punisher alum is set to play male escort Julian Kaye in Showtime's pilot for a series adaptation of American Gigolo. David Hollander (Ray Donovan) is set to write and direct, with Bernthal producing, and original film producer Jerry Bruckheimer executive producing alongside Jonathan Littman and KristieAnne Reed.
Stemming from Paramount TV Studios and Jerry Bruckheimer Television, American Gigolo started down the path towards a pilot order in 2014. In 2016, Showtime set the project up for development, with Neil LaBute (Billions, Van Helsing) set to write – but over the past four years, the project has undergone a number of changes.
Showtime's series take is a present-day reimagining of the iconic film, where Bernthal's Julian Kaye introduced to viewers 18 years after he's been arrested for murder and struggling to find his footing in the modern-day Los Angeles sex industry. Julian is seeking the truth about the set-up that sent him to prison all those years ago – and also hoping to reconnect with Michelle, his one true love.
"American Gigolo comes with all the sizzle you'd expect, but it also offers a deep dive into the complicated waters of relationships and sexuality in 2020. We've assembled an 'A' team to adapt this iconic movie into a Showtime series with the talent and magnetism of Jon Bernthal, the exquisite filmmaking and showrunning of David Hollander, the legendary Jerry Bruckheimer and our new sister studio, Paramount."
– Gary Levine, President of Entertainment, Showtime Networks
Bernthal is living a pretty busy professional life, currently filming King Richard and set to appear in the upcoming prequel film to HBO's The Sopranos, The Many Saints of Newark and Platform – as well as Small Engine Repair. Getting ready to wrap up his work on Ray Donovan, Hollander will be staying in the ViacomCBS family; while the writer/director's past television filmography includes Heartland and The Guardian.