'American Gigolo' TV Show Sets Jon Bernthal In Continuation Of The Story From The 1980 Movie

In 1980, Richard Gere became a movie star in American Gigolo, the neo-noir crime drama written and directed by Paul Schrader (First Reformed). A TV version has been in the works for years, and now it's finally heading to Showtime with Jon Bernthal (Punisher, The Walking Dead) starring as Julian Kaye, the title role that made Gere famous. Read on for details about the American Gigolo TV series.

Before we go any further, here's the trailer for the original movie:

I've never seen the original, but fair warning: the details of this new series spoil what happens in it, so if you want to catch up with the movie fresh before the show debuts, bookmark this page and come back later.

Spoilers ahead.

Despite the official press release referring to this show as "a present-day reimagining of the 1980 film," it sounds more like a direct continuation of that story:

Bernthal will play Julian Kaye, who is introduced 18 years after he's been arrested for murder and struggling to find his footing in the modern-day Los Angeles sex industry, while 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.

The film ends with Gere's Kaye behind bars for killing a man who seemingly framed him for murder, but Lauren Hutton's Michelle, the wife of a senator, puts her reputation on the line by telling the cops that Kaye was with her the night of the murder in question, giving him an alibi. She declares her love for him while he's still in jail, but it's unclear what happens to the characters beyond that. There's no word yet on who will play Michelle in this version.

David Hollander, the showrunner of Showtime's now-defunct Ray Donovan, is writing and directing the American Gigolo pilot. Jerry Bruckheimer, who produced the movie, is on board as an executive producer.

And as far as the timeline goes, unless I'm totally misreading something here, someone is going to have to answer for how everything is supposed to square up. Since this TV version picks up eighteen years after the events of 1980, either this "present-day reimagining" will technically be set in 1998, or the original movie will have to be retconned as having taken place in 2002-2003.

"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," said Gary Levine, Showtime's president of entertainment. "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."