Showtime has given a series order to American Gigolo, its long-in-the-works series adaptation, with Ford v. Ferrari and The Walking Dead alum Jon Bernthal attached to star and produce. The project hails from David Hollander (Ray Donovan) Paramount TV Studios and Jerry Bruckheimer Television.
Paramount TV originally teamed with Jerry Bruckheimer, who produced the film noir classic starring Richard Gere and Lauren Hutton, to explore a TV series adaptation in 2014. The project was set up for development at Showtime in 2016 with Neil LaBute as writer. It has since gone through multiple incarnations. The project, with Hollander as writer & EP and Bernthal starring, received a pilot order at Showtime in March 2020.
In a star-making turn, the 1980 movie featured Gere as Julian Kaye, a male escort in Los Angeles.
Written and directed by Hollander, the new American Gigolo is a present-day reimagining of the iconic 1980 film. Bernthal plays 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 (Boardwalk Empire).
Cast also includes Rosie O’Donnell (SMILF) as homicide Detective Sunday, Lizzie Brocheré (Falling Water) as sex work ring heiress Isabelle, Gabriel LaBelle (Dead Shack) as a younger version of Julian named Johnny and Leland Orser (Ray Donovan) as Richard Stratton, a self-made tech billionaire. Wayne Brady (The Wayne Brady Show) guest stars as Lorenzo, Julian’s best friend and mentor.
Hollander will executive produce and also serve as showrunner. Bruckheimer will executive produce along with Jonathan Littman and KristieAnne Reed. Bernthal also serves as a producer. The series is produced by Paramount Television Studios.
“If you haven’t already fallen under the spell of Jon Bernthal, get ready,” said Gary Levine, President of Entertainment, Showtime Networks. “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.”
Bernthal, who recently starred in Ford v Ferrari, recently wrapped production on features King Richard and The Many Saints of Newark. On television, he’s known for his starring role as Frank Castle on The Punisher and Shane Walsh on The Walking Dead.
Hollander executive produced and served as showrunner for the Showtime drama series Ray Donovan, earning an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Directing and sharing in a WGA Award nod for best new series. He’s directing the Ray Donovan feature-length film which will pick up where season seven left off after its surprise cancellation last year. Hollander also created the television series Heartland and The Guardian, which he executive produced and directed multiple episodes.