Jared Leto cast as Hugh Hefner for biopic

Jared Leto will play Hugh Hefner in a biopic about the Playboy founder, who died Sept. 27 at age 91.

The upcoming biopic will be directed by Brett Ratner who says “Jared is an old friend.”

Ratner continues: “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.”

READ MORE: Hugh Hefner dead: Playboy founder dies aged 91

The upcoming biopic has been in development since 2007. Initially, Universal Pictures and Imagine Entertainment owned the rights to the project and the rights later went to producer Jerry Weintraub for Warner Bros. When Weintraub died in 2015, Ratner’s RatPac Entertainment took over the biopic rights.

“In recent years there has been plenty of interest and much conversation about doing a feature film based on my life,” Hefner said in a statement in April. “I have always believed that when the timing was truly right, the perfect creative partners would come together for this project. I believe we’ve found those partners in Brett Ratner and RatPac Entertainment.”

READ MORE: 11 surprising facts you (probably) never knew about Hugh Hefner

Hefner died last month and Leto never had a chance to meet him. Ratner had hoped to introduce the pair but he says “There’s enough footage on Hef out there that Jared will be able to get as much information as he wants.”

“My goal is to do the motion picture as an event,” Ratner says.

READ MORE: From MLK to John Lennon: How Playboy elevated the art of the magazine interview

Many people on Twitter appear less enthused about the casting for the Ratner-directed project.

https://twitter.com/henderstu/status/915284620589043712

Leto’s most recent project, Blade Runner 2049, hit theatres on Oct. 6.

© 2017 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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