Is “American Gigolo” based on a true story?

showtime’s new series, american gigolo, sees Jon Bernthal take on the role of male companion Julian Kaye, who is falsely accused of murder.

With his name cleared after serving 15 years in prison, Kaye makes it his mission to uncover the truth behind his incarceration.

Viewers may be wondering how much of the story is in American gigolo is true. Here’s everything you need to know.

Is “American Gigolo” based on a true story?

The short answer is no, American gigolo is not based on a true story, but is actually a remake of the 1980 Paul Schrader film of the same name.

Schrader’s film stars Richard Gere in the title role of Julian Kaye and follows the character in Los Angeles as he becomes romantically involved with a politician’s wife, Michelle Stratton (Lauren Hutton), and then finds himself the prime suspect in a murder.

American gigolo
Jon Bernthal as Julian Kaye in American Gigolo, which is based on the 1980 film of the same name and is not based on a true story.
Warrick Page/Showtime

The film and the Showtime series share the same premise, but American gigolo goes beyond Schrader’s original story by focusing more on the aftermath of Kaye’s time in prison than what came before.

Kaye also becomes romantically involved with Stratton (played by Gretchen Mol) on the show, but in the remake she’s the wife of a technology businessman.

During his captivity, Kaye became estranged from Stratton, but when his name is finally settled he attempts to reconnect with her.

The 2022 iteration of American gigolo also sees Kaye trying to figure out who framed him, and in the process he begins to realize that the web of lies is much larger than he initially thought.

Showtime’s remake of American gigolo has no connection to director Schrader, he revealed.

The filmmaker said in a Facebook post shared in June that he believed the TV adaptation was “a bad idea” and that when asked about coming on board he decided not to take part in the show wool.

Schrader told fans: “After the Showtime trailer came out online I was asked if I was involved. The answer is no.

“A few years ago, I got a call from Paramount asking about a remake American gigolo as a series. I replied that I thought that was a terrible idea – times had changed, internet porn had redefined male sex work, viruses, etc. I couldn’t imagine Julian Kaye working on a bachelorette party…I thought that was the end of it.”

The director explained that he was approached a second time about the series, where he was told the show would go ahead without his involvement.

He said: “Here were my options: (1) take G$50 and not be involved (2) take US$0 and not be involved (3) threaten an expensive and futile lawsuit and not be involved. I took the G$50.”

Schrader concluded that he had no intention of watching the show because he felt he “couldn’t be objective, and even if I could, it’s too much excitement.”

American gigolo Premieres Sunday, September 11 on Showtime at 9pm ET. Is “American Gigolo” based on a true story?

Rick Schindler

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