The latest classic movie to be reimagined as a prestige TV show is “American Gigolo,” Paul Schrader’s 1980 thriller about a male escort accused of murder. While many cinephiles are looking forward to seeing what Showtime can do with the material, Paul Schrader is not one of them. The director recently took to his always-colorful Facebook page to disavow the series and emphasize that he has no involvement with it.
“After the Showtime trailer appeared online I’ve been asked if I am involved,” Schrader wrote. “The answser (sic) is No.”
Schrader revealed that has long been opposed to updating his most iconic films, as he feels that they are products of specific eras and only make sense in the contexts in which they were made.
“Some years ago I received a call from Paramount asking about remaking ‘American Gigolo’ as a series,” he wrote. “I replied that I thought it was a terrible idea–times had changed, internet porn had redefined male sex work, viruses, etc. I couldn’t imagine Julian Kay working a Hen Party. (Scorsese and I had fought off similar attempts to redo ‘Taxi Driver’ for years.) I thought that was the end of it.”
But that was not the end of it, according to Schrader, who says he was not even asked to be involved with the series that was eventually produced.
“Then came another call saying Jerry Bruckheimer and Paramount had the rights to redo AG without my consent. I said I would think about how such a show could be structured,” he wrote. “No, the caller explained, they did not want my involvement. Here were my options: (1) take $50G and not be involved (2) take $0 and not be involved (3) threaten an expensive and futile lawsuit and not be involved. I took the $50G.”
The upcoming Showtime series stars Jon Bernthal as Julian Kaye, the male escort role made famous by Richard Gere in Schrader’s film. Gretchen Mol, Rosie O’Donnell, Lizzie Brocheré, Gabriel LaBelle, Leland Orser, and Wayne Brady also star. Schrader had praise and well-wishes for the cast, even if he doesn’t plan to tune in.
“I haven’t seen the trailer. I’m a great fan of John Bernthal and wish Gretchen Mol the best,” he wrote. “I don’t plan to watch the Showtime series. I don’t think I could be objective about it and, even if I could, it’s too much agita.”
While he won’t be watching “American Gigolo,” Schrader has plenty to keep him busy, as he is currently hard at work on his next directorial outing, “Master Gardener” starring Joel Edgerton and Sigourney Weaver.