Jared Leto has been slated to play Hugh Hefner in a new film produced by Brett Ratner. Ratner is known for his work on such films as Rush Hour, X-Men, and The Last Stand.
Rolling Stone reports that a Hefner Biopic has been in the works since 2007 and actors Robert Downey Jr. and Hugh Jackman were initially considered for the role.
Hugh Hefner, Playboy founder, and editor-in-chief passed away at the age of 91 on September 27. Hefner was born during the prohibition era of 1926 and was of Swedish, German and English descent. Hefner served in the US Army from 1944 to 1946, received his Bachelor’s in Psychology from the University of Illinois, and was a copywriter for Esquire Magazine which he left in 1952.
Though Leto never met Hefner, he believes that there is enough film footage, media shots and audio recordings that will assist him in preparing for the role of the Playboy Mogul. Leto is a 2013 Oscar winner for his role in the film Dallas Buyers Club.
Brett Ratner has said publicly of Hefner that he was “one of the greatest media and cultural pioneers in history who was responsible for the most significant social and cultural movements of our time.”
Speaking last week to The Hollywood Reporter, Ratner said that he and Leto “are old friends” and that he knows Leto can pull off the film. Not everyone believes that or even cares. Some industry folk took to Twitter to give their opinions, none of which were favorable to either film or star:
Senior Editor at The Atlantic, David Sims said: “Booking a Brett Ratner movie isn’t a sign that your career is going well.”
Comedy Central Writer, Tim Duffy doesn’t mince words: “Jared Leto will play Hugh Hefner in a movie with the working title Ew.”
The film is said to still be in early development and the details are not yet available. Rumors from those close to the project hint that it may cover the period of Hefner’s launching of Playboy Magazine.