“American Gigolo,” Showtime’s “present-day reimagining” of Paul Schrader’s 1980 erotic drama of the same name, first began as an idea gestating at Jerry Bruckheimer Television in 2014. According to executive producer Jonathan Littman, the show — which stars Jon Bernthal in the role originated by Richard Gere — once had Jared Leto attached to play the suave, high-end escort.
Not entirely a reboot and certainly not a remake, the series picks up 15 years after Julian Kaye (Bernthal) was framed for a murder he didn’t commit. Following his exoneration, Julian must once navigate the treacherous world of L.A. elites, all the while navigating who betrayed him in the first place.
Read on to find out where, when and how to watch “American Gigolo”:
Is “American Gigolo” Streaming?
There are a couple of ways to watch the eight-episode Paramount Television Studios series, depending on if you’re a Showtime subscriber or are one of the dwindling few who have yet to cut the cord.
“American Gigolo” will premiere on Friday, Sept. 9 on streaming and on demand for all Showtime subscribers. After that, the crime noir series will have its on-air TV debut Sunday, Sept. 11 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on the network. New episodes will continue to drop every Friday via streaming and on-demand platforms before appearing on air Sunday night. The season finale premieres Oct. 28 and Oct. 30, respectively.
How is the show different from the original?
As established, this new take will follow Julian after the events of the Schrader’s classic film. Toward the end of the movie, Michelle, Julian’s love (portrayed by Lauren Hutton), sacrifices her marriage and reputation to provide a much-needed alibi. While the movie stops short of seeing Julian free, it certainly enables his exoneration.
Here is the show’s official logline: “American Gigolo follows Julian Kaye (Bernthal) after his wrongful conviction release from 15 years in prison as he navigates his complicated relationships with his former lover Michelle (Gretchen Mol, “Boardwalk Empire”), his troubled mother, and the people who betrayed him. While Julian struggles to reconcile the escort he was in the past and the man he is today, Detective Sunday (Rosie O’Donnell, “The L Word: Generation Q”) seeks the truth about the murder that sent Julian to prison all those years ago, unearthing a much larger conspiracy along the way.”
According to Littman, the reimagining stands apart from the film by actually delving into Julian’s backstory, and how he became a sex worker in the first place: “The movie is a great L.A. noir, but we knew nothing about Julian,” he told TheWrap in an interview. “You had no idea how he got where he was, how he became a gigolo. It was just, He’s a gigolo, he’s framed for a crime and a great story unfolds, and it was sexy, great and cool. We thought the perfect invert to this is to [explore] how he [became] this as a way to re-look at the movie. What was the journey? So that was the first impetus of not just remaking it, but how do you reimagine what you couldn’t do in the constraints of a feature back then when you’re trying to hit a two-hour runtime?”
Who else is in the cast?
Aside from Bernthal, Mol and O’Donnell, guest star Wayne Brady portrays Julian’s friend and mentor Lorenzo. Rounding out the ensemble are Lizzie Brocheré as Isabelle, the heiress to a ring of sex workers; Gabriel LaBelle as Johnny, a younger version of Julian; and Leland Orser as Richard Stratton, a self-made tech billionaire and Michelle’s husband.
Are any of the creatives behind the film involved in the show?
Most notably, Bruckheimer, who produced the original film, will executive produce along with Littman, KristieAnne Reed and Russell Rotherberg. “The Offer” boss Nikki Toscano serves as series showrunner and executive producer, while David Hollander (“Ray Donovan”) developed the show.