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‘American Gigolo’ Trailer: Jon Bernthal Thrusts Himself Back Into Seedy LA Sex Scene to Find a Killer

Gretchen Mol and Rosie O'Donnell also star in the reimagining of Paul Schrader's 1980 film.

American Gigolo

“American Gigolo”

Showtime

Sex sells, but murder is where the real money is.

Jon Bernthal stars as Julian Kaye, an ex-escort who sets out to exonerate himself after serving 15 years for a murder charge for the death of his former client. Kaye finds former lover Michelle (Gretchen Mol) for answers, while Detective Sunday (Rosie O’Donnell) tries to piece together what really happened at the crime scene.

The Showtime series reimagines the Kaye character originated by Richard Gere in Paul Schrader’s 1980 film “American Gigolo.”

The drama also stars Lizzie Brocheré as Isabelle, the heiress to a ring of sex workers; 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.

Lead star Bernthal previously told GQ that he was even surprised to be cast in the lead role for the upcoming series. “I do not believe that I possess any kind of natural sex appeal,” Bernthal said. “I’ve always looked at myself as this weird-looking guy.” The “We Own This City” star continued, “It’s crazy to me, but it scares me — and that’s why I’m gonna see it through.”

Original “American Gigolo” director Schrader slammed the television series in a Facebook post confirming that he was not involved in the production. “Some years ago I received a call from Paramount asking about remaking ‘American Gigolo’ as a series,” the “Taxi Driver” writer penned. “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.”

Schrader continued, “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. 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 “Card Counter” director concluded, “I’m a great fan of John Bernthal and wish Gretchen Mol the best. 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.”

“American Gigolo” was originally helmed by “Ray Donovan” showrunner David Hollander before he parted ways with the series amid an ongoing misconduct investigation. Hollander wrote and directed the pilot for the new series, which is produced by Paramount TV Studios with Jerry Bruckheimer Television. The 10-episode series has filmed seven episodes thus far before Hollander was let go. Executive producer David Bar Katz later exited the series three weeks after Showtime and Hollander split. Nikki Toscano snow serves as showrunner and executive producer.

“American Gigolo” premieres September 9 on Showtime.

Check out the trailer below.

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