“Jared is an old friend,” Ratner told The Hollywood Reporter. “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 project has been in the works for a while, with Ratner apparently keen on directing since 2007 (when Robert Downey Jr was attached to star) but only managing to buy the rights for his own production company Ratpac Entertainment in 2015.
Ratner is apparently also planning to reboot the Hefner-hosted TV series Playboy After Dark, which aired in the late 1960s.
While Leto never actually managed to meet Hefner before his death (despite going with Ratner to the Playboy ranch one evening in April, Leto was unable to talk to Hefner him due to the latter’s ill health) Ratner is confident that the actor will be able to bring him to life.
“There’s enough footage on Hef out there that Jared will be able to get as much information as he wants,” he said.