Oscar winner Jared Leto has jumped quickly onto his next project: he will be donning the burgundy robe to play the late Playboy mogul Hugh Hefner for Brett Ratner and RatPac Entertainment, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
The project has been long in development, ever since 2007 at Universal, but now has a jumping off point with the unfortunate news of Hefner’s passing just this past week at the age of 91. Universal held the rights to Hefner’s story for some time and had Robert Downey Jr. set to play Hef, but when the license expired, Jerry Weintraub took them up. After Weintraub’s passing in 2015, Brett Ratner jumped on the project quickly with the intention of helming the film.
According to Ratner, his goal “is to do the motion picture as an event.” With Leto on board and his recently proven penchant for character acting, it seems Ratner will be able to make that vision a reality. Speaking on Leto’s involvement, Ratner said: “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.”
Regardless of one’s personal thoughts or opinions on Hugh Hefner and his Playboy empire, it will be likely that Ratner and Leto will make a serious effort in showing the layered and convoluted many sides to the infamous man.
Leto can be seen later this week in Blade Runner 2049 and is soon set to reprise his role as The Joker in Suicide Squad 2.