Method Actor Jared Leto Will Play Hugh Hefner Next

Photo: Jesse Grant/Getty Images/Leisure Opportunities.
Jared Leto is ready for his next role, and it might just be his most ambitious one yet.
Leto will play Playboy founder Hugh Hefner in an upcoming biopic, The Hollywood Reporter revealed Tuesday. Brett Ratner will direct the project.
Hefner's death didn't make the biopic happen; as THR points out, the project has been in the works since 2007. Originally, the movie was going to be released through Universal Pictures and Imagine Entertainment, but it's now in development through Ratner's RatPac entertainment.
Oh, and Robert Downey Jr. was originally going to play Hefner.
"Jared is an old friend," Ratner told THR. "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."
The magazine notes that Leto visited the Playboy Mansion in April, at Ratner's invitation. The visit came during the premiere of Amazon series American Playboy: The Hugh Hefner Story, around the same time Hefner celebrated his 91st birthday. Leto didn't get to meet Hefner himself. But Ratner isn't worried, pointing out that there's plenty of video footage of the Playboy founder to inspire Leto's acting.
"There's enough footage on Hef out there that Jared will be able to get as much information as he wants," Ratner told THR.
As the Associated Press pointed out in its obituary for Hefner, he once said that his proudest achievement was changing people's "attitudes toward sex."
"That I changed attitudes toward sex. That nice people can live together now," Hefner said when The New York Times asked him what he was proudest of in 1992. "That I decontaminated the notion of premarital sex. That gives me great satisfaction."
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