Created with the help of David Hollander, Showtime’s crime drama “American Gigolo” centers around a male escort, Julian Kaye, who gets wrongly convicted of killing Janet Holmes. After spending 15 days in jail for an offense that he didn’t commit, Julian returns to the sex industry of contemporary Los Angeles to build his life and uncover the mystery surrounding Janet’s death.
The show stars Jon Bernthal as the titular gigolo in the series. It examines the world and the trade of sex in a realistic manner, as well as an engaging crime mystery plot. Enticed by the show’s intriguing narrative, we’ve delved into the series’ history. This is what we have discovered!
Is American Gigolo Based on a True Story or the 1980 Movie?
“American Gigolo” is based on the famous 1980 film written and directed by Paul Schrader. “It’s hard to believe it’s been more than 40 years since the film release of American Gigolo, and now we have the chance to continue the story of American Gigolo as a TV series,” Jerry Bruckheimer, executive producer of the show as well as director of the movie explained to the magazine. Although Schrader’s film may be authentic and explores the various aspects of the sex business, it’s not based on a true story.
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Schrader created the film when the screenwriting class he taught the UCLA film and TV department. When he was teaching characterizations, the director would discuss a specific character’s job, which led him to think of the character as known as a gigolo. The character was later redesigned as one who is affectionate but does not get the same. This idea was the basis for Julian Kay’s character in ‘American Gigolo the film. According to Schrader, the film was one of the “reverse sides” of ‘ Taxi Driver the film, which is considered to be one of the most iconic films ever made and made by Schrader himself.
“The character in the movie ‘Taxi Driver’ was sexually insane. The character in “American Gigolo’ is sexually obsessed. He can identify himself by offering sexual pleasure but has no notion of pleasure from sexuality,” Schrader told New York Times. The film, however, is not completely detached from reality. It offers a glimpse into the different aspects of the profession of escorting, the dynamics of affection and other emotions associated with it, and the male escorts’ presence within the upper levels of society.
Instead of being a sequel or remake, Showtime’s American Gigolo is a “reimagining” of Schrader’s film. The show’s protagonist, Julian’s storyline, is distinct from the movie’s Julian. In the film, while Julian begins his new life after being wrongly convicted, the second is fighting to stay clear of the consequences. However, “getting framed for a murder” plays a key part in the movie, the film, and the television show. The show also gives the background to Julian’s story as it reveals how he came to be an infamous gigolo. This is something that the film doesn’t even mention.
Michelle Stratton’s storyline differs from the show it is compared to the film. The show’s storyline is that Michelle becomes a mom, and in the film, she chooses not to become a mother once she starts to have a relationship with Julian. However, the unhappy relationship Michelle is in is evident in the show, too. Lorenzo Julian’s best friend in the series plays the character in the movie Leon James. Rosie O’Donnell plays Hector Elizondo’s Detective Sunday in the Showtime series following the character’s gender shift.
While Showtime’s “American Gigolo” is a reimagining of a classic film, it is a show with its own distinct identity and character. The film Schrader is focused on Julian’s loneliness and the lack of love the gigolo receives. The show is more an investigation into murder than a look into the life of a protagonist from the gigolo genre. Furthermore, Schrader was neither involved in the show’s development nor would he ever want to witness the identical. “AMERICAN GIGOLO. When the Showtime trailer was released online, I was asked if are involved in it. The answer is no,” The director explained.
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Schrader believes that the film isn’t worthy of an adaptation as a series. “Some many years ago, I received an email from Paramount seeking to remake American Gigolo as a series. I responded that I thought that it was a bad idea. The world was changing, internet p*rn redefined male sex work, viruses, etc. I could not think of Julian Kay working a Hen Party,” he added. But, Jerry Bruckheimer and Paramount Pictures were granted the rights to continue with the production of the series without Schrader in the picture. “I do not intend to watch this Showtime series. I don’t believe I can be objective about it. In fact, even if I could, there’s just too much tension,” Schrader further shared.