Jared Leto, Hand in Hand: A Benefit for Hurricane Relief

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About a week after Hugh Hefner passed away, The Hollywood Reporter announced that Jared Leto is set to play the famous Playboy founder in an upcoming biopic. 

E! News has reached out to Leto's rep for additional comments on his involvement. 

THR reported that the film will be directed by producer and director Brett Ratner and that it's already in early development under his company RatPac Entertainment

"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."

Ratner chased the rights to Hefner's story for a while. According to the celebrity news outlet Ratner's intent to direct the film dates back to 2007, when the film was set to be made by Universal Pictures and Imagine Entertainment. However, when the rights expired, THR wrote, Jerry Weintraub bought them. It wasn't until the Ocean's and Westworld producer died, THR continued, that Ratner purchased the rights for his own company.

THR also wrote that Ratner tried to introduce Leto to Hefner back in April at the premiere of Amazon's docuseries American Playboy: The Hugh Hefner Story; however, he was unable to make the introduction due Hefner's declining health.

Leto has played a number of roles throughout his career, including the Joker in Suicide Squad and Rayon in Dallas Buyers Club—the latter of which earned him an Oscar for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role.

Ratner also boasts an impressive résumé. He was an executive producer for the film The Revenant and directed X-Men: The Last Stand.

Hefner, who launched Playboy in 1953, died at the age of 91 on Sept. 27.

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