Update: Brett Ratner Playboy Biopic Killed, Under Investigation By Warner Bros. Following Sexual Harassment Exposé
Update: It looks like Jared Leto won't be playing the Playboy founder in a biopic after all.
"Jared Leto is not and was not attached to a Brett Ratner-directed Hugh Hefner film, nor will he be working with him in the future," Leto's rep told Deadline. "Earlier reports were incorrect and not confirmed by his representatives."
The news comes after Warner Bros. announced that it is investigating director Brett Ratner, following the Los Angeles Times' report about sexual harassment and misconduct claims against him.
This story was originally published on October 3, 2017.
Jared Leto is ready for his next role, and it might just be his most ambitious one yet.
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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