American Gigolo teaser: Jon Bernthal transforms into Julian Kaye

For the Showtime series, Bernthal takes on the role created by Richard Gere in Paul Schrader’s classic 1980 film.

Julian Kaye just wants to escape himself.

Jon Bernthal plays the iconic male escort character invented by Richard Gere in Paul Schrader’s 1980 film American Gigolo. The Showtime series reimagining of the famous feature film is set in the present as Julian (Bernthal) tries to decipher why he was framed and wrongly convicted of murder.

“I can only ever be this other guy,” says Bernthal, as Julian says in the teaser trailer. “This guy is not scary. I jumped in the water and then washed it off. And then I can be me.”

Julian is a former escort who was released from prison after serving 15 years for a murder he did not commit. Julian turns to former lover Michelle (Gretchen Mol) for answers, while Detective Sunday (Rosie O’Donnell) tries to figure out what really happened at the crime scene.

Despite the series’ contemporary setting, the teaser no doubt harks back to the original film’s stylized ’80s roots.

The drama also stars Lizzie Brocheré as Isabelle, the heiress to a sex worker ring; Gabriel LaBelle as Johnny, a younger version of Julian; Leland Orser as Richard Stratton, a self-made tech billionaire; and guest star Wayne Brady as Julian’s best friend and mentor Lorenzo.

American Gigolo was originally helmed by showrunner David Hollander before parting ways with the series amid an ongoing misconduct investigation. Hollander wrote and directed the pilot for the new series being produced by Paramount TV Studios with Jerry Bruckheimer Television. The 10-episode series has filmed seven episodes so far before Hollander was fired. Executive producer David Bar Katz later left the series three weeks after Showtime and Hollander split.

Lead star Bernthal previously told GQ that he was surprised to be starring in the upcoming series.

“I don’t think I have any natural sex appeal,” Bernthal said. “I’ve always thought of myself as this weird looking guy.”

The We Own This City star continued, “It’s crazy for me, but it scares me – and that’s why I’m going to do it.”

American Gigolo is coming to Showtime soon.

Check out the teaser below.

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Lindsay Lowe

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