The project was ordered to pilot at Showtime in March 2020 after having been in development at the premium cabler since 2016.
Bernthal will play Julian Kaye, the character played by Richard Gere in the film. Julian is introduced 15 years after he’s been arrested for murder and struggling to find his footing in the modern-day Los Angeles sex industry. He seeks the truth about the set-up that sent him to prison all those years ago and also hoping to reconnect with Michelle (Gretchen Mol), his one true love.
The series will also star Rosie O’Donnell as homicide Detective Sunday, Lizzie Brocheré as sex work ring heiress Isabelle, Gabriel LaBelle as a younger version of Julian named Johnny, Leland Orser as Richard Stratton, a self-made tech billionaire, and guest star Wayne Brady as Lorenzo, Julian’s best friend and mentor.
“Ray Donovan” alum David Hollander serves as writer, director, showrunner, and executive producer on the series. Jerry Bruckheimer, who produced the original film, will executive produce along with Jonathan Littman and KristieAnne Reed via Jerry Bruckheimer Television. Paramount Television Studios will produce, with Paramount Pictures having produced the film.
“If you haven’t already fallen under the spell of Jon Bernthal, get ready,” said Gary Levine, co-president of entertainment for Showtime. “Jon absolutely owns the screen with his searing, brooding and vulnerable performance in this contemporary version of ‘American Gigolo.’ Writer/director David Hollander brilliantly reimagines the seductive original film, confronting the mystery, the exhilaration and the danger of our deepest desires.”
“American Gigolo” was released in 1980 and helped establish Gere as a major box office draw. Along with Gere, it starred Lauren Hutton, Hector Elizondo, and Bill Duke among others. It ultimately grossed over $52 million against a reported budget of $5 million.
This is the second TV role that Bernthal has locked down in recent weeks. It was reported in May that he would star in the HBO series “We Own This City” from David Simon, George Pelecanos, and Ed Burns. That project will deal with the infamous true story of Gun Trace Task Force within the Baltimore Police Department.