Kiss the Girls: Are Casanova and Gentleman Caller Based on Real Killers?

In the 1997 thriller ‘Kiss the Girls,’ two killers join forces to terrorize the city of Durham, North Carolina, as their combined efforts result in the abduction of ten women. While Casanova handles the bulk of the kidnappings, collecting women for his harem fantasy, the Gentleman Caller takes care of the gruesome and gritty murders for which he has a perverted taste. As Detective Alex Cross pushes forward with his investigation, the machinations and teamwork of both antagonists lead to several roadblocks in his pursuit of rescuing the women from danger. The modus operandi of Casanova and Gentleman Caller prompts several questions regarding their psychological makeup and the roots of their macabre prey behavior!

Casanova is a Fictional Serial Abductor and Killer

Casanova is a fictional character in ‘Kiss the Girls,’ conceived by James Patterson, whose novel of the same name was adapted into the film. Obsessed with collecting women for his personal pleasure and disturbing fantasies, the serial abductor becomes the root of all problems in the narrative. After he abducts a woman named Naomi Cross, her uncle, Detective Alex Cross of the Washington D.C. Police Department, gets involved in the hunt for the notorious criminal. Primarily looking to gain the affection of all his abductees, Casanova is an unhinged and twisted individual who abuses the women and gets rid of them once he is tired of them.

During an interview, director Gary Fleder pinned the central motive of the primary antagonist as his delusional longing to be loved by his victims. “I mean, there is, unfortunately, a whole sort of history of sexual predators, especially in our culture, in our society, in North America,” he said. “And a guy who actually kidnaps a woman as a collector, there actually have been somewhat more grotesque versions of that. Even John Hinckley, before he did what he did with the President. I mean, Hinckley also had a fantasy about kidnapping Jody Foster at some point. In stalking her and kidnapping her and sort of making her love him.”

Image Credit: John Hinckley/YouTube

John Warnock Hinckley Jr. attempted to assassinate President Ronald Reagan on March 30, 1981. While his attempt failed, resulting in the death of White House Press Secretary James Brady due to complications from the attack, he did this as a way of demonstrating his devotion to actor Jodi Foster, with whom he was infatuated. This happened after he watched Foster play a 12-year-old sex-trafficked girl in ‘Taxi Driver.’ After a small period of stalking her, where she didn’t respond to any of his messages, calls, or letters, Hinckley Jr. planned to grab her attention by committing a Presidential assassination. He was ultimately thwarted, although not without casualty and harm.

Although a similar mindset is displayed by Casanova in ‘Kiss the Girls,’ he is much more psychotic in his actions and his drive to subjugate all the women at his disposal. His twisted way of going about things is drastically heinous. To garner affection and sexual favors from the abducted woman among his thrall, he intimidates and drugs them regularly. While he may be fictional in conception, there are elements of his psyche reflected in real cases of serial abduction, sexual predation, and stalking behavior, but for the most part, he is not real.

The Gentleman Caller is Not a Real Killer and Abductor

While the antagonist of ‘Kiss the Girls’ is predominantly Casanova, later in the film, another twisted figure emerges in the form of the “Gentleman Caller.” The murderer was crafted by James Patterson while penning his novel, which would later become the basis of the film. In the story, as Detective Alex Cross continues to pursue the use of Sistol, a fictional drug administered to the abducted women, he is led to the doorstep of a man named Dr. William Rudolph, a.k.a. The Gentleman Caller. It comes as a surprise to the detective when he makes the connection that the series of abductions is actually the work of two killers and abductors.

Compared to Casanova’s elaborate ways of grooming, sedating, and dressing the women to his liking, the Gentleman Caller is a much more straightforward killer. He has a taste for dismembering bodies and keeping trophies from his victims. Such type of behavior can be seen in the murders committed by real-life killer Jeffrey Dahmer. Active from 1978 to 1991, the serial killer primarily targeted men, killing 17 of them and, in many cases, keeping parts of their bodies preserved with him. His bias towards collecting trophies from his victims was reportedly a means to prolong his sexual gratification long after the person was dead.

Jeffrey Dahmer

However, the Gentleman Caller differs from Dahmer because he is open to working with Casanova. Instead of functioning solo, he teams up with the other man and helps him get what he wants while also getting something in return. His way of operating is derived from several instances of other serial killings; however, he remains confined to the realm of fiction in ‘Kiss the Girls.’

Read more: Best Serial Killer Movies on Netflix