Hugh Hefner died last week, which allowed people to conveniently forget all the gross stuff he did because he founded a magazine that blended female nudity with legitimately good articles. He then proceeded to wear a captain’s hat and a smoking jacket in old age all the time because when you’re white and wealthy, that’s called being “eccentric”.
Brett Ratner has been planning on making a Hefner biopic since 2007, but he’s never quite been able to get it off the ground. Now he’s found a new lead for the project with THR reporting that Jared Leto is on board to play Hefner. “Jared is an old friend,” says 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.”
Leto, an actor still desperately craving legitimacy despite winning an Oscar, will probably go method or some such nonsense, but I doubt that Ratner will find much nuance in Hefner’s story. The director is already planning to reboot Hefner’s late-1960s talk show Playboy After Dark, and he previously attended the Playboy Mansion for the premiere of Amazon’s docuseries American Playboy: The Hugh Hefner Story. Presumably, a Hefner biopic will simply function as a celebration of the Playboy founder’s life rather than digging into his treatment of women. You can’t sell future Hefner stuff if you make people question his greatness even though using Hefner’s story as a lens towards the treatment of women would actually be a fascinating approach if you had a more thoughtful director at the helm.