‘American Gigolo’ Offers ‘Modern Take’ on Vintage Film

American Gigolo on Showtime
Jon Bernthal in Showtime’s ‘American Gigolo’ (Image credit: Warrick Page/Showtime)

American Gigolo debuts on Showtime on September 9, on streaming and on-demand, before its linear premiere Sunday, September 11. The network calls the series “a present-day reimagining of the iconic 1980 film.” Jon Bernthal stars and there are eight episodes. 

Bernthal plays Julian, who spends 15 years in prison for murder, then gets out and attempts to fix his complicated relationships with his former girlfriend, played by Gretchen Mol, his mother and those who betrayed him. 

Rosie O’Donnell plays the detective who finds a conspiracy while investigating Julian’s murder charge, which turns out to be bogus. 

Jerry Bruckheimer, who produced the original film, is an executive producer of the series. Paul Schrader directed the film and Richard Gere starred. 

Bruckheimer signed on for the TV project way back in 2014. 

“He was very eager to see if we could infuse a modern take into his iconic film,” Jessie Dicovitsky, Showtime senior VP of original programming, told B+C. “We and our partners at Paramount Television jumped on it.”

Dicovitsky calls Bernthal’s Julian “a subversive, complex character” dealing with some big decisions confronting him. She singled out Bernthal for both “raw sex appeal” and “emotional intimacy.”

The series will strike a chord with those who reassessed their lives amidst the pandemic, Dicovitsky believes. “I know a bunch of people who had a moment of, do I want to stay in this marriage, job, city, etc.,” she said. “We felt like that made this modern and made it relevant.”

The series is also about getting on your feet after a particularly frightful episode. “It’s about someone who has lived through immense trauma and found a way to become the best at what they could be,” Dicovitsky said. “Julian has to find out how to move forward to find happiness.”

Nikki Toscano is showrunner and executive producer with Bruckheimer, Jonathan Littman, KristieAnne Reed and Russell Rothberg. 

O’Donnell and Showtime go way back. She’s been on The L Word and SMILF in the past. Dicovitsky called Rosie “a longtime friend of the network.”

She called American Gigolo “a very fun ride all the way through.” ■

Michael Malone

Michael Malone, senior content producer at B+C/Multichannel News, covers network programming, including entertainment, news and sports on broadcast, cable and streaming; and local broadcast television. He hosts the podcasts Busted Pilot, about what’s new in television, and Series Business, a chat with the creator of a new program, and writes the column “The Watchman.” He joined B+C in 2005. His journalism has also appeared in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Playboy and New York magazine.