Jon Bernthal is gearing up to portray Julian Kaye, a male escort who was framed for murder, in the upcoming Showtime adaptation of American Gigolo, though the Walking Dead actor isn’t so sure of himself. In a new interview with GQ, Bernthal insists he isn’t actually hot enough to play someone who is considered “sexy,” which is a bit important for a role like that.
“I do not believe that I possess any kind of natural sex appeal,” the actor says. “I’ve always looked at myself as this weird-looking guy.” The original role of Julian Kaye in the 1980 film was portrayed by Richard Gere.
The Showtime adaptation will consist of ten episodes that will act as a sequel of sorts, taking place 15 years after the original movie. The cast includes Gretchen Mol, Rosie O’Donnell, Lizzie Brocher, Wayne Brady, and Leland Orser. Bernthal, who is known for his role as the Punisher, originally thought he was the “wrong guy” for the show.
So why did Bernthal take the part? Because he was very afraid of it. “I just really fundamentally believe you’ve gotta pursue the things you’re scared of,” he says. “If you’re scared of swimming in the ocean, you’ve gotta get in there. If you’re scared of being assaulted in the street, you’ve gotta learn how to fight. You’ve gotta run headfirst toward the fear.”
So, it seems like he was afraid of going shirtless, and has conquered that fear. Way to go, John!