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The ViacomCBS-backed premium cable network has handed out a formal 10-episode series order to the present-day reimagining of the 1980 Jerry Bruckheimer feature film. Jon Bernthal (The Walking Dead) stars in the drama, which hails from Ray Donovan‘s David Hollander, Paramount TV Studios and Jerry Bruckheimer Television.
Bernthal stars as Julian Kaye, who 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, while seeking the truth about the setup that sent him to prison all those years ago, and also hoping to reconnect with Michelle, his one true love, played by Gretchen Mol (Boardwalk Empire).
“If you haven’t already fallen under the spell of Jon Bernthal, get ready,” said Showtime president of entertainment Gary Levine. “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.”
Rosie O’Donnell, Lizzie Brochere and Gabriel LaBelle and Leland Orser round out the cast, with Wayne Brady on board as a guest-star. Bruckheimer, who produced the original film that starred Richard Gere and Lauren Hutton, exec produces alongside JBTV’s Jonathan Littman and KristieAnne Reed.
The series pickup comes seven years after Bruckheimer teamed with Paramount TV Studios to revive the title for television. The American Gigolo update was first put into development in late 2014, with Bruckheimer overseeing and the film’s writer-director Paul Schrader attached as a consultant. The project landed at Showtime two years later with Neil LaBute then set to write the script. It had been on the backburner until last year, when a casting search began for the male lead. Bernthal was cast in March and the drama formally received a pilot order in March, days before the industry shut down amid the pandemic.
With the re-merger of Viacom and CBS, the series is now produced in-house as the now Nicole Clemens-led Paramount TV Studios is part of the ViacomCBS fold.
American Gigolo becomes the latest film-to-TV project for Paramount TV Studios, which like other studios, is mining its library for content. The studio has reboots of Love Story, Fatal Attraction, Flashdance and more in the works for its streaming sibling, Paramount+, as well as Jack Ryan at Amazon.
Reboots continue to remain in high demand as broadcast, cable and streaming outlets look for proven IP in a bid to cut through a cluttered scripted landscape while also providing added value to library programming on streaming platforms. Key to the remakes is having the original producers involved in some capacity as more studios look to monetize their existing film libraries. That’s the case with American Gigolo and Bruckheimer.
As for Showtime, American Gigolo becomes the latest reboot in the works for the cabler and joins The L Word: Generation Q and its forthcoming Dexter limited series.
Hollander, meanwhile, also has the Ray Donovan movie in the works at Showtime after the cabler abruptly canceled the series following the seventh-season finale, which ended with a cliffhanger.
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