American publisher and editor-in-chief of Playboy Magazine, Hugh Hefner, died a week ago aged 91. First there was media praise at his efforts to change attitudes to sex in American society; he donated to charities and he fought for freedom of speech. Then came the condemnations of his attitudes towards women, both generally, in the way he founded a corporation that published nude female photographs, and specifically, in his reported behaviour towards the various members of the “harem” who lived with him in the Playboy Mansion in Los Angeles.
Thus has the late Hugh Hefner’s reputation run the gamut of media and public opinion in only seven days. Now the capper, the plans for a biopic on his life have just been announced. Director Brett Ratner of Rush Hour fame and Brat-Pac Entertainment, says that Jared Leto, whom he refers to as a friend, will be starring as the nudie-mag creating hero (or villain, depending on your philosophical make-up). According to Ratner, back in 2007, when he optioned the rights for Hef’s story, Leto heard about it and asked if he could play the lead character; in those early days nine years ago, Robert Downey Jnr was also in consideration for the role.
Despite the length of time this has been discussed between Leto and Ratner, the project is actually in the early stages of development, however Hefner’s death has moved its status from one-of-these-days to let’s-make-it-happen.