According to The Hollywood Reporter, the 45-year old Oscar-winning actor will portray the iconic Playboy founder in a biopic directed by longtime friend, Brett Ratner (Red Dragon, Rush Hour films).
Hefner, known to the public eye for his trademark burgundy silk robe and penchant for pipe-smoking, passed away at the age of 91 in the comfort of his Los Angeles estate on Sept. 27. I think it’s safe enough to say that the entrepreneur who made a living from photographing some of the most beautiful women in history, died a very happy man.
Ratner had this to say about Jared Leto:
Jared is an old friend. 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 he can do it. He’s one of the great actors of today.
The project has a back-and-forth history concerning rights and distribution. The biopic first found its footing at Universal Pictures and Imagine Entertainment, where Robert Downey Jr. was slated to don the iconic smoking jacket and pipe. But the project fell into limbo and eventually the rights expired, leading to Ocean’s Eleven producer Jerry Weintraub to snatch them up. Peter Morgan (The Queen) was set to pen the script, with Wedding Crashers director David Dobkin helming the film. Weintraub died in 2015 and Ratner reacquired the rights for his own company, RatPac Entertainment.
Leto was invited to the Playboy Mansion by Ratner in April for a semi-celebratory event; American Playboy: The Hugh Hefner Story , a docuseries from Amazon, made its world premiere, and Hef turned 91, a number not many live to see — and even if they do, chances are they won’t be surrounded by scantily-clad women within the confines of their 22,000 square-foot home. Well done Hef — well done.
The project seems to be in the right hands, considering the mogul gave Brett Ratner his personal blessing for making the film. In addition to the upcoming feature, Ratner also plans to reboot Playboy After Dark, a talk show from the late ’60s that was hosted by Hef himself.
How do you feel about Jared Leto portraying one of the most iconic faces in American history? Do you think Brett Ratner can deliver a movie that’s worthy of the late tycoon’s exceedingly colorful life? Let us know in the comments below!