Jon Bernthal, a man who once claimed he doesn’t “possess any kind of natural sex appeal,” might want to take another glance at the objectively very sexy “American Gigolo” trailer.
The first look at the Showtime series’ reimagining of the classic 1980 film of the same name arrived on Thursday, with the “King Richard” star taking on the role of Julian Kaye, the male escort originally played by Richard Gere.
The series picks up with Julian after he’s served 15 years in prison for a murder of a former client he didn’t commit. With a new lease on life, the ex-escort grapples with his freedom and the relationships he left behind, including his troubled mother and his former lover Michelle (Gretchen Mol). Meanwhile, Detective Sunday (Rosie O’Donnell) digs into a conspiracy behind the crime that sent him to prison all those years ago.
But Julian can’t stay away from bedroom for too long, as he tells his former mentor, Lorenzo (Wayne Brady), that he wants to “go back to work again.”
And, so he does, as Bernthal tangles sans clothing with a new client Isabelle (Lizzie Brocheré), the heiress to a ring of sex workers, who slaps him across the face before instructing him to “show me what you can do.”
Bernthal, whose star has steadily been rising with major roles in recent projects like the “Sopranos” prequel film, “The Many Saints of Newark,” and HBO’s police drama “We Own This City,” recently admitted that he’s wrestled with his leading man status over the years.
“I would walk into rooms and feel so ugly,” he recalled in a GQ interview about his early days in Hollywood. “My nose, my ears … I fit into this weird box because it’s like, ‘Is he a leading man? He’s not that good looking.’”
“I’ve always looked at myself as this weird-looking guy,” he added, noting that his “American Gigolo” role “scares me — and that’s why I’m gonna see it through.”
If the trailer is any indication, the actor clearly overcame his fears, but the production hasn’t exactly gone as smoothly behind the scenes.
“Ray Donavan” creator David Hollander, who developed, wrote and directed the reboot series, was fired in April following allegations of misconduct. Co-executive producer David Bar Katz then took the reins as his successor before he exited the series over creative differences a month later.
To make matters worse, the director of the original film, Paul Schrader, has disavowed the series, calling the endeavor a “terrible idea” given how “times had changed” and “internet porn had redefined male sex work, viruses, etc.”
“American Gigolo” premieres Sunday, Sept. 11 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on Showtime.
Watch the trailer below.