Jared Leto is about to take on his newest role, as Hugh Hefner in the upcoming biopic about the legendary founder of Playboy. While the project is in the very early stages of development, the news that the actor will be donning the iconic smoking jacket and silk pajamas comes less than a week after the death of Hefner at the age of 91.
According to the Hollywood Reporter, Brett Ratner, who will direct the project, confirmed the news of Leto’s involvement with the biopic on October 3. Ratner shared that Jared Leto is an old friend of his, and when the other man found out that he had gotten the rights to the story of Hugh Hefner’s life, Leto went to him and said that he wanted the opportunity to bring the Playboy founder to life. Brett Ratner said that for Jared Leto it was about more than just playing Hefner, it was about wanting “to understand him.”
Ratner went on to say that he really believes that Jared Leto will be able to “do it,” because he feels the other man is “one of the great actors of today.” As Salon reported, Leto is also considered to be one of the most in-demand actors in Hollywood at this time. While some might consider the actor to be an odd choice to play Hugh Hefner, since they do not have the same mannerisms or looks, Jared Leto has been able to give a presence to many of his characters on screen, which could work in his favor.
Although the Hugh Hefner biopic may be in the early stages of development, Brett Ratner has apparently been set on directing this biopic since 2007, when the project was initially set up with Imagine Entertainment and Universal Pictures. While the rights have changed hands more than once, in 2015 Ratner and his RatPac Entertainment snapped up the rights to the project after the death of Jerry Weintraub.
While the Hugh Hefner biopic will tell the story of the Playboy founder’s life, Brett Ratner has said that what he wants to do is make “the motion picture as an event.” With Jared Leto stepping in to give life to Hefner, it is likely that Ratner will be able to succeed at his goal. Even though Leto was never able to meet Hefner prior to his death, the director still believes the actor will be able to do justice to the other man simply from looking at all of the available “footage on Hef out there.”
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