Just days after Amazon Studios released their docu-drama series American Playboy: The Hugh Hefner Story, the Playboy Magazine founder’s life story will be heading to the big screen. Brett Ratner and his company RatPac Entertainment have acquired the rights to Hugh Hefner’s life story for a currently untitled biopic, which will be a co-production between RatPac and Playboy/Alta Loma Entertainment. Here’s what Hugh Hefner himself had to say about this biopic coming to fruition.
“In recent years there has been plenty of interest and much conversation about doing a feature film based on my life. 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. I’m very much looking forward to this collaboration.”
This is actually the second time Brett Ratner has tried to make a movie based on Hugh Hefner’s life. Way back in June 2007, Brett Ratner signed on to direct a project simply titled Playboy, with John Hoffman (Looking) writing the screenplay and Imagine Entertainment producing for Universal Pictures. Robert Downey Jr. and Hugh Jackman were being eyed to star, with Scott Silver (8 Mile) and Diablo Cody (Juno) coming aboard to work on the script at different points, before Universal ultimately dropped the project, with Warner Bros. picking it up, setting Peter Morgan to write the script. Here’s what Brett Ratner had to say about the project that he ultimately bought back, in a statement to Deadline.
“Hugh Hefner started a sexual revolution from behind the walls of his legendary mansion by using the pages of Playboy Magazine an his own infamous lifestyle to build a global empire that included publishing, clubs, casinos and television networks. I thought it was such a brilliant idea (when Grazer first got the rights) that I sent Brian a Playboy pinball machine from that 70s. Scott Silver wrote a script but they could never crack it and then I told Brian there was nobody better for this than me. And then I spent years unable to crack it, as a straight drama, or as a musical. Finally, Diablo Cody pitched a take that seemed promising, but Universal let it go and Jerry Weintraub and Warner Bros grabbed it. And they couldn’t crack it either. In the meantime, I went from a seller to a buyer and I’m relieved to have it back so that we can develop it without the impatience from studios.”
Brett Ratner will be setting a writer on the project, which is said to follow Hugh Hefner from being raised in a strict Methodist household, to becoming the icon of a sexual revolution. While he’s best known for his hedonistic lifestyle in the iconic Playboy Mansion, Hugh Hefner was left devastated when his first wife admitted that she cheated on him while he was away fighting in World War II. Long after his Playboy empire was established, he married former Playmate Kimberly Conrad in 1989, until their divorce in 2010. He married his third wife, another former Playmate, Crystal Hefner in 2012. Here’s what Brett Ratner had to say about Hugh Hefner in another statement.
“Whether young people today read or care about Playboy, this was a guy who had a dream and changed the world. Hefner cared about civil rights, women’s rights, the preservation of the arts, jazz…his magazine featured interviews with important leaders from Malcolm X and Martin Luther King. And with one stroke of genius he changed sexuality in America.”
Brett Ratner will produce this Hugh Hefner Biopic with John Cheng, with Hugh Hefner executive producing along with Dick Rosenzweig and Peter Jaysen. There has been no production start date given for this upcoming biopic, which doesn’t have a director attached either, with Brett Ratner only attached to produce. Brett Ratner hasn’t directed a film since 2014’s Hercules, but he has been keeping plenty busy as a producer on The Revenant, War Dogs and Rules Don’t Apply on the big screen, along with the Rush Hour TV series and the new Prison Break revival.