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“He was never happy”: The Punisher Star Jon Bernthal Hated Playing the Lead in American Gigolo for One Reason That Didn’t Make Any Sense

Jon Bernthal does not think he possesses the s*x appeal of a male escort.

“He was never happy”: The Punisher Star Jon Bernthal Hated Playing the Lead in American Gigolo for One Reason That Didn’t Make Any Sense


  • Rosie O’Donnell revealed her co-star Jon Bernthal was not happy with American Gigolo.
  • The actor shared he does not think he is very appealing in the way male escorts are.
  • Bernthal reflected on his work in the movie and shared his learnings.

Jon Bernthal has had a couple of different roles throughout his career in Hollywood – a hitman, an antihero, a zombie killer – but he never considered himself a s*x object. At least, not in his 2022 series American Gigolo.

jon bernthal
Jon Bernthal

The role was very far from the parts he usually plays in movies and series, and the actor admitted it was indeed a challenging one. Bernthal even confessed he was not the right guy for the job.

RELATED: Daredevil: Born Again Reportedly Shows Jon Bernthal’s Punisher Go on a Rampage after Racist Cops Misuse His Logo: “You and I are not the same”

Jon Bernthal Admits He Has No S*x Appeal After Starring As A Male Escort

In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, actress Rosie O’Donnell revealed his co-star Jon Bernthal was not particularly thrilled playing the lead role in the present-day remake of the 1980 Richard Gere classic. She stated:

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Jon Bernthal was not happy with the show, and it was very clear. It’s difficult to work that way on a set. He was never happy that he was playing a gigolo. And I’m like, ‘Well, it’s called American Gigolo.’

O’Donnell also admitted she was not happy with the show and she had a lot of doubts about its direction. The actress further added:

I didn’t love it either, and I questioned at first why you would take a movie set in the mores of the early ’80s and try to remake it without having the seismic cultural shifts that have occurred since then incorporated. One review wrote, ‘It’s almost as though Rosie’s in a different show,’ and in a way, it was.”

american gigolo
American Gigolo

In a conversation with GQ, Bernthal declared he did not have that kind of s*x appeal that most male eye candy icons have. He expected people to have negative responses about his portrayal:

I do not believe that I possess any kind of natural s*x appeal. I’ve always looked at myself as this weird-looking guy. It’s crazy to me, but it scares me — and that’s why I’m gonna see it through. And honestly, man? Maybe I can’t. Maybe these things will come out and people will say, ‘Well, he tried this, and he couldn’t do it.’

Based on Paul Schrader’s original movie, American Gigolo follows a recently exonerated Julian Kay as he attempts to discover who framed him for murder 15 years ago.


RELATED: Daredevil: Born Again Taps Netflix’s The Punisher EP As New Showrunner For R-Rated Disney+ Series

Jon Bernthal Took The Role Because It Scared Him

jon bernthal 2
Jon Bernthal

Speaking with the New York Times, Jon Bernthal admitted he gave the role a try just to experience something he has never done in his entire career:

It explores this part of male s*xuality that I’ve just never really related to. I’ve never seen myself as a man who could walk into a room and be the object of someone’s desire.”

The project taught Bernthal a lot of lessons, mostly on being open to exploring things one has never tried before because, in the end, there will always be a valuable takeaway (via GQ):

I just really fundamentally believe you’ve got to pursue the things you’re scared of. If you’re scared of swimming in the ocean, you’ve got to get in there. If you’re scared of being assaulted in the street, you’ve got to learn how to fight. You’ve got to run headfirst toward the fear.”

Even though he had a lot of hesitation at first, and eventually discovered it was not the kind of role he would see himself getting into again in the future, at least he got to experience something one for the books.

RELATED: “Just let me slap you”: Jon Bernthal Learned a Hard and Fast Lesson After Jonah Hill “Smacked the Sh-t” Out of Him Off-Camera on a Martin Scorsese Film

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Written by Ariane

Ariane, Senior Content Writer. She has been contributing articles for FandomWire since 2021, mostly covering stories about geek pop culture. With a degree in Communication Arts, she has an in-depth knowledge of print and broadcast journalism. Her other works can also be seen on Screen Rant and CBR.