If Robert Downey Jr. was perfect playing a wealthy playboy superhero in Iron Man, the hero of generations of men who appreciate the female form thinks he’d be the ideal choice to play the ultimate swinger. Playboy Magazine founder and publisher Hugh Hefner told ComingSoon.net he and director Brett Ratner are avidly pursuing Downey as the lead for a planned big screen biopic on Hef’s legendary life at the center of his centerfold empire.
“I guess the next big thing we’re looking forward to is the movie and we’re hoping that Robert Downey Jr. will be portraying me,” Hef revealed. “Brian Grazer is producing. Brett Ratner is directing. We’re finishing up the screenplay and hope to have to be in production by the end of the year.”
Hef thinks Downey who’s expressed serious interest in the project would be perfect to play him “because he’s a very good actor. It has nothing to do with ‘Iron Man.’ Our conversations with Robert were in the months immediately before ‘Iron Man.’ He called immediately after ‘Iron Man’ and asked ‘When we were going to do the movie?””
Ratner was also completely sold on the idea of Downey as the pajama-clad publisher. “He’s a great actor and he embodies the characters,” Ratner told ComingSoon.net. Just look at him as Charlie Chaplin [in 1992's 'Chaplin']. You really believe it. I think if he spends time with Hef, he’ll not just mimic him but he’ll take on his nuances and his personality and the essence of Hefner.
The film is expected to cover the prime years in which Hefner built his Bunny-based empire. “Originally, in the first draft it was covering everything, which proved impossible,” Hefner explained. “It would make a good mini-series. It’s going to cover the launch of the magazine which is about 1952-1953 to the middle of the 1970s.”
“It’s not just about his life it’s about the creation of the magazine,” said Ratner. “I think the movie is more than just a film, it’s about the Sexual Revolution and how much he brought to it. The change in America and the influence that Playboy had on the world. He had this idea and it was lighting in a bottle to create a magazine to change the world on how they viewed sexuality.”
Also sold on Downey’s casting: Hefner’s number one “Girl Next Door” girlfriend Holly Madison. “I think he’d be a good choice,” Madison said. “I think he’s hot and I really liked him in ‘Iron Man.’ He played a Playboy-type character in that, too.
Meanwhile, Hefner and his triumverate of “Girls”–Madison, Bridget Marquardt and Kendra Wilkinson–will appear on the big screen as themselves in the upcoming comedy The House Bunny, in which Anna Faris plays a centerfold who gets tossed out of the Playboy Mansion and ends up as the house mother to seven sorority girls. “Hef’s always charming-I mean, ALWAYS,” said Faris, who shot at the Mansion “He’s incredibly hospitable.”
Faris also teased ComingSoon that she just might be appearing in a saucy spread in the pages of the magazine to promote the film. “I was thinking about it, just sort of like, ‘Oh, my God, my parents.’ But they’re so supportive and they love it and it’s all sort of well, you’ll just have to see!”
Hef also updated ComingSoon.net on all of his upcoming projects, as well as how, at age 82, he stays so young at heart (Hint: surrounding yourself with sexy ladies who aren’t so hung up on clothing helps).
CS: You’ve had the distinction of playing yourself on screen probably more times than just about anyone. Is there a “Hef” role that you put on or are you just being yourself?
Hefner: What you see is what you get. I don’t think it’s the same as what it was when I was younger, but I think I grew into the role.
CS: But we don’t see you singing like you’ve done in the past on “Playboy After Dark.”
Hefner: There’s a good reason for that [Laughs].
CS: I have all the After Dark DVDs. I want that show to come back, it was so hip pair it with the reality show!
Hefner: Oh, that’s cool. It was a very cool show for its time.
CS: What kind of new adventures have you guys had in the new season of “The Girls Next Door?”
Hefner: We just came back from The Kentucky Derby and that’ll be in the show. I know that we’re going to spend a day on Catalina Island. Holly is leading the search for the 55th Anniversary of Playmate and came back from Dallas and is traveling to Chicago with some other Playmates as part of that show. She was in Vegas also as a part of that show. I celebrated my 82nd birthday once again in Vegas and that’ll be on the show. It’s a lot of the same fun and hi-jinx.
CS: Can you talk about how women have embraced the Playboy brand and the Girls have become the face of ‘Playboy’ as much as you have been?
Hefner: Well, if you’re talking about women in general, it’s one of the things that’s most satisfying to me. Who would’ve imagined?-and I certainly didn’t imagine when we started the show that it would not become hugely popular, but that it’d become hugely popular primarily with women. And as a result of the brand the Girls and I have become so popular with women that it’s satisfying in a ways that I cannot begin to express, because one of the hurtful times for me was the period in which women’s lib found an anti-sexual element that they played out with great success in the media that created the notion that somehow Playboy and other things of a sexual nature similar to Playboy were somehow exploitive or anti-women. If anyone knows anything about Playboy, [he/she] knows the good fights that we have fought from the very early days, certainly the Playboy philosophy and the Playboy foundations in changing the very laws related to abortion rights and birth control rights and women’s liberation in many ways. So I’ve felt from the very beginning that the sexual revolution that Playboy had a part in was for everyone. It was not a conspiracy to exploit women. It was for personal freedom for everybody.
CS: How do you feel like you’ve changed the culture with Playboy?
Hefner: Well, as I’ve expressed on more than one occasion I feel like I’m the luckiest cat on the planet. Part of it, not the obvious part of it, but to be able to play some part of the changing of the social sexual values of our time in a way that I think is positive is immensely satisfying and as I’ve said on more than one occasion have really been the very happiest time of my life. It’s very much related to looking back at over more than a half century and feeling the things that work incredibly well, but at the same time that the fight goes on.
CS: How do you stay so young You seem tireless and ageless. Is it keeping company with all these beautiful women?
Hefner: Well, part of it has to do obviously with picking your parents very well. Good DNA helps a great deal. My mother lived to be 101 and I also do think it has to do with a positive attitude. If you enjoy what you’re doing and surround yourself with positive things it tends to work out that way.
CS: Is there one last thing that you hope to accomplish, or have you done it all?
Hefner: Well, I think that I’ve done it all, but I think that the fight still goes on and we have the first amendment awards, the Hugh Hefner First Amendment Awards that we celebrate each year and are adding some additional elements to that this year because I think we need them. If I was going to sum up what it’s like for me these days it’s continuing to do the same things that I’ve done before, but at the same time relishing how much it is understood now in a way that was not understood ten or fifteen years ago. There’s a wonderful new book coming out in the fall from Professor Stephen Watts on my life. His two previous books were on Henry Ford and Walt Disney. The three of us he sees as the arc of the 20th century. So there are nice things going on.