'American Gigolo' TV Series Will Star Jon Bernthal And Re-Imagine The Original Film

Breaking news: Jon Bernthal is a gigolo. An American Gigolo, that is. Bernthal, a very good actor who should really be a bigger star by now, is set to star in a Showtime series based on the 1980 Richard Gere movie American Gigolo. Bernthal will play a guy recently released from prison who hopes to get his life back on track. And, if we're to take the title literally, he'll become a gigolo at some point.

Since everything old is new again, Schrader's film is now becoming a TV series. Believe it or not, this has been a long time coming. Super producer Jerry Bruckheimer, who produced the original movie, first announced he was turning the movie into a TV show back in 2014, and it's been in one form of development or another since then. Now, it's finally happening. We actually first reported on it last year.

Bruckheimer is still on board as an executive producer, along with Jonathan Littman and KristieAnne Reed. David Hollander (Ray Donovan) will write and direct the series. And Jon Bernthal, who was recently in Those Who Wish Me Dead, will star. The series is described as "a present-day reimagining of the iconic 1980 film" that finds Bernthal playing "Julian Kaye, who is introduced 15 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, played by Gretchen Mol." That synopsis almost makes it sound like this is a sequel to the original movie, but no one wants to say that out loud I guess.

In addition to Bernthal, the cast includes Rosie O'Donnell as homicide Detective Sunday, Lizzie Brocheré as sex work ring heiress Isabelle, Gabriel LaBelle as a younger version of Julian named Johnny, Leland Orser as Richard Stratton, a self-made tech billionaire, and guest star Wayne Brady as Lorenzo, Julian's best friend and mentor.

"If you haven't already fallen under the spell of Jon Bernthal, get ready," said. Gary Levine, President of Entertainment, Showtime Networks Inc. "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

Released in 1980, American Gigolo is a film written and directed by Paul Schrader, the screenwriter behind Taxi DriverRaging Bull, and so much more. It starred Richard Gere, and helped turn the actor into a leading man. In the film, "Julian (Richard Gere), a gigolo, commands high prices for his services, living a lavish if emotionally unattached lifestyle under the management of Anne (Nina van Pallandt). While secretly working for pimp Leon (Bill Duke), Julian is assigned to service Mr. Rheiman (Tom Stewart) and his wife, Judy (Patti Carr), but leaves when their violent requests make him nervous. When Mrs. Rheiman is found dead and no one is willing to testify on his behalf, Julian finds himself the primary suspect."

"The whole movie has a winning sadness about it; take away the story's sensational aspects and what you have is a study in loneliness," critic Roger Ebert wrote in his positive review of the film. "We leave American Gigolo with the curious feeling that if women weren't paying this man to sleep with them, he'd be paying them: He needs the human connection and he has a certain shyness, a loner quality, that makes it easier for him when love seems to be just another deal."

Here's the film's trailer.