Jon Bernthal has a very intense and intimidating screen presence. He broke out as loose-cannon Shane on The Walking Dead, is best known for playing the Punisher in the Netflix-Marvel shows—and maybe again in the MCU proper, there is a persistent rumor they’d like to keep Bernthal around—and he consistently plays heavies and tough guys in movies, the kinds of characters who usually kill or are killed (Taylor Sheridan loves casting Bernthal as ill-fated, would-be heroes). Jon Bernthal is so consistently cast as bad guys or guys to whom bad things happen that whenever he shows up on screen, I fully expect the sh-t to hit the fan like, immediately. Because of this persistent casting—I won’t call it type-casting, because of the range Bernthal manages to get from these performances—I have long wanted to see him cast in something light and fluffy, like an autumnal NYC rom-com. Well, I have almost gotten my wish, as Jon Bernthal has been cast as a romantic lead at last. Sort of.
He’s set to take on the role of Julian Kaye, the sex worker made famous by Richard Gere in American Gigolo, in a sequel series set at Showtime, also called American Gigolo. Taking place 15 years after the film, American Gigolo (the series) will follow Julian as he tries to reestablish himself in the Los Angeles sex industry, and reconnect with his star-crossed love, Michelle, played by Lauren Hutton in the film and Gretchen Mol in the series. It doesn’t sound like Michelle’s attempt to save Julian at the end of the film worked—spoilers for a 40-year-old movie, I guess—if he’s trying to get back on his feet 15 years later. Sort of sounds like Julian went to jail. Maybe for the unintentional death of Leon? Or did they get him on a lesser charge like prostitution? At any rate, things seem rough for Julian Kaye. I also wonder if this will be a period piece set in 1995, or if we’re going to pretend like American Gigolo (the film) happened circa 2005? I’m pulling for period piece. Do for 1990s LA what The Deuce did for 1970s New York. Also, while I am glad to see Jon Bernthal take on a role that is less about knuckle-busting and more about socio-political manipulation and classism, I would still like to see that autumnal NYC rom-com. Someone get on that.