Paramount-owned network Showtime has just taken the covers off American Gigolo, a ten-episode series that reimagines Paul Schrader’s 1980 film of the same name, and takes the story fifteen years further than its original scope.

In what may be his most challenging role yet, the series will put The Punisher actor Jon Bernthal (and his rippling new physique) into the shows of Julian Kaye – the hotshot Los Angeles escort that was originally played by Richard Gere.

Jon Bernthal American Gigolo

The series will follow Julian after the events of the film, fifteen years after he was framed for murder charges. After spending so much time behind bars, we’ll see Julian struggle with his identity, push towards rebuilding his personal life, and curiously, explore the wholly-different Los Angeles sex industry in an age of dating apps, OnlyFans, and much more.

It’s a new evolution of the complex, tortured lead characters Bernthal has tackled in the past – layered with the added complexity of his relationship with romance, and a burning desire to discover the truth behind his incarceration.

Jon Bernthal American Gigolo

While the pilot was scheduled to release last year, Covid-related delays forced makers to postpone the unveil to this May, when a short teaser was released. A controversy surrounding misconduct allegations about original creator David Hollander also stalled production, until he was replaced with a yet-unknown showrunner.

The show was also marred by further controversy following a Deadline interview with Schrader himself, who seems to disapprove of the upcoming series. “I thought [the show] 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,” Schrader wrote. “I thought that was the end of it.”

Richard Gere vs. Jon Bernthal

The show is about as sex-charged and intense as the original – with the exciting inclusion of Blondie’s Call Me, the hit single written for the 1980 film that stayed atop the Billboard 100 for a solid six weeks. Fans caught the nostalgia bait on Twitter – although most of the discourse surrounds how insanely attractive Jon Bernthal can be in front of a camera:

American Gigolo, also starring Gretchen Mol, Rosie O’Donnell, Lizzie Brocheré, and Leland Orser, premieres on Showtime on September 9.

(Featured Image Credits: Showtime, Paramount Pictures)