It had happen: less than a week after the death of Playboy founding editor Hugh Hefner, a film based on his life has been announced – with one of today’s biggest names attached to the lead role.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Jared Leto is set to appear as Hefner in an as-yet untitled biopic based on the famed and controversial pioneer of publishing and pornography. Brett Ratner (‘Rush Hour,’ ‘X-Men 3’) will direct.
With this news arriving so soon after the man’s passing, it’s easy to take the announcement of this film as a rather distasteful cash-grab. However, Ratner has been planning to make the film for some time; he’s been working on the project in some form since 2007, and obtained the rights in 2015.
Nor is Leto’s attachment a completely new thing, although it has only just now been publicly announced. Ratner explains, “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 Jared can do it. He’s one of the great actors of today.”
Ratner explains he’d also hoped to introduce Leto to Hefner earlier this year, when the Playboy Mansion hosted a screening of ‘American Playboy,’ Amazon’s docu-drama series about Hefner and the launch of Playboy. However, Hefner did not attend due to his ailing condition.
Still, Ratner says, “There’s enough footage on Hef out there that Jared will be able to get as much information as he wants.”
Given Leto’s well-publicised method acting approach, we can only wonder what his preparation for this particular role might entail. However, we have no indication yet of when the Hefner biopic may be set to go into production, nor have any potential release dates been announced.
In the meantime, Leto can next be seen in ‘Blade Runner 2049,’ in cinemas from Thursday, 5 October.