You can see Jared Leto as a corporate flesh peddler in Blade Runner 2049 this weekend, and now The Hollywood Reporter brings word that he’ll be playing a real one too. The 45-year-old Leto will play Hugh Hefner, the storied founder of Playboy in a biopic directed by Brett Ratner (Hercules, Rush Hour). Hefner passed away last week at the age of 91.
“Jared is an old friend,” says Ratner. “When he heard I got the rights to Hef’s story, he told me, ‘I want to play him. I want to understand him.’ And I really believe Jared can do it. He’s one of the great actors of today.”
Ratner has been attached to direct a Hefner biopic (with Hef’s blessing) since 2007, originally for Imagine Entertainment with Robert Downey Jr. onboard to star. When the rights lapsed, a new project was announced in 2013 from producer Jerry Weintraub, screenwriter Peter Morgan (The Queen) and Wedding Crashers director David Dobkin. After Weintraub’s death, Ratner snapped the rights back for his own RatPac Entertainment.
The biopic will chronicle the legendary mogul who founded Playboy magazine in 1953 and turned it into a veritable empire with mens’ clubs all over the world, while at the same time leading an envious bachelor lifestyle into his 80s. Ratner also wants to produce a rebooted version of Playboy After Dark, the late-1960s talk show that Hefner hosted.
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