Paul Schrader Thinks American Gigolo Adaptation is a ‘Terrible Idea’

Days after Showtime dropped a teaser for its American Gigolo adaptation, Paul Schrader took to social media to voice his opinion about the upcoming series. Schrader penned and directed the 1980 neo-noir American Gigolo, starring Richard Gere and Lauren Hutton, about a male escort framed for murder. Showtime’s adaptation will star Jon Bernthal (The Walking Dead) and Gretchen Mol (Boardwalk Empire).

On Saturday, Schrader posted a lengthy statement to his Facebook page, stating:

“After the Showtime trailer appeared online I’ve been asked if I am involved. The answser is No. Some years ago I received a call from Paramount asking about remaking American Gigolo as a series. I replied that I thought it was a terrible idea–times had changed, internet porn had redefined male sex work, viruses, etc. I couldn’t imagine Julian Kay working a Hen Party. (Scorsese and I had fought off similar attempts to redo Taxi Driver for years.) I thought that was the end of it.”

Schrader went on to explain that his involvement wasn’t requested, and he was offered and accepted $50,000. The series will star Bernthal as Julian Kaye and Mol as Kaye’s love interest Michelle and Schrader had something to say about that, too (even referencing a previous collaboration with Mol on 90s drama Forever Mine):

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“I’m a great fan of John Bernthal and wish Gretchen Mol the best (also wish I could have done a better job with the film I wrote and directed for her–sorry for that, Gretch).”

Showtime’s American Gigolo also stars Rosie O’Donnell as a detective working to uncover the truth behind Julian’s false conviction; Lizzie Brocher√© as Isabelle, the heiress to a ring of sex workers; Gabriel LaBelle as a young Julian; Leland Orser as Richard Stratton, a self-made tech billionaire; and Wayne Brady as Julian’s best friend and mentor Lorenzo.

Schrader is currently working on the crime thriller Master Gardener starring Joel Edgerton and Sigourney Weaver. No release date is yet known.

Schrader’s American Gigolo

The 1980 film starred Gere as high-priced escort Julian Kaye, whose upper-crust clientele funds his lavish lifestyle and stylish outfits. After becoming involved with a politician’s wife, a Los Angeles Police Department Detective names Kaye the prime suspect in a murder case. While Kaye is innocent and was with a client on the night of the murder, she does not provide an alibi to protect her marriage.

Although the film received mixed reviews, it propelled Gere to leading man and sex-symbol status. American Gigolo has long been considered one of the most stylish films of the decade, credited for popularizing Giorgio Armani. The designer was commissioned to create Kaye’s wardrobe. American Gigolo was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for its musical score, composed by Giorgio Moroder.

The new series will pick up 15 years after the movie, with Julian’s release from prison. The thriller will follow Julian as he navigates the modern-day Los Angeles sex-work industry and explores complicated relationships with his former lover and mother.