Good news for those interested in seeing more of actor Jon Bernthal—possibly in more ways than one, depending on how closely it hews to its source material—with Showtime announcing today that the Walking Dead and Punisher star has signed on for the lead role in its TV sequel series to Paul Schrader’s American Gigolo. Per Deadline, Bernthal will play an 18-years-older version of Richard Gere’s iconic lothario Julian Kaye, still wrestling with the after-effects of the events of Schrader’s celebrated neo-noir.
Bernthal has worked at a fairly relentless pace since his breakout role as Shane Walsh during the early seasons of The Walking Dead; even now, he’s got something like seven projects in either pre-or-post-production, including Williams tennis family drama King Richard and Taylor Sheridan’s Those Who Wish Me Dead. (To say nothing of his recent role in Ford V Ferrari.) Bernthal’s capacity for projecting vulnerability from beneath the most brutal of exteriors has made him a standout in any number of productions, and will likely serve him well in the role of outwardly callous man of leisure Julian.
Released in 1980, the original American Gigolo was a star-making turn for Gere. The American Gigolo show, meanwhile has been in development at Showtime for years now, having passed through the hands of everyone from Jerry Bruckheimer (who co-produced the original film) to potential writer Neil LaBute. The series is currently in the hands of Ray Donovan showrunner David Hollander, and has been given a pilot order by Showtime.