‘American Gigolo’ Teaser: Jon Bernthal Transforms Into Male Escort Julian Kaye for ’80s-Inspired Thriller

For the Showtime series, Bernthal takes over the role originated by Richard Gere in Paul Schrader's classic 1980 film.
American Gigolo, Jon Bernthal
"American Gigolo"

Julian Kaye just wants to escape himself.

Jon Bernthal stars as the iconic male escort character originated by Richard Gere in Paul Schrader’s 1980 film “American Gigolo.” The Showtime series reimagining of the famed feature is set in the present day, with Julian (Bernthal) trying to decipher why he was framed and wrongfully convicted for murder.

“I can always just be this other guy,” Bernthal as Julian says in the teaser trailer. “This guy isn’t scary. I jumped in water and then I washed him off. And then I get to be me.”

Julian is a former escort released from prison after serving 15 years for a murder he didn’t commit. Julian seeks out former lover Michelle (Gretchen Mol) for answers, while Detective Sunday (Rosie O’Donnell) tries to piece together what really happened at the crime scene.

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

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.

“American Gigolo” was originally helmed by 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.

Lead star Bernthal previously told GQ that he was 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.”

“American Gigolo” is coming soon to Showtime.

Check out the teaser below.

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