Hefner died on Sept. 27 at the age of 91. Ratner had announced in April that he was re-launching development of the project through his RatPac Entertainment, which optioned Hefner’s life rights, as a co-production between Ratpac and Playboy/Alta Loma Entertainment. At that point, it was also announced that Ratner would producing with John Cheng and that Hefner would be an executive producer with Dick Rosenzweig and Peter Jaysen.
Hefner had given his blessing to the project at that point: “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.”
Ratner was attached a decade ago to direct a Hefner movie with Imagine Entertainment. Amazon Prime launched “American Playboy,” a 13-part documentary series on Hefner, in April.
Hefner launched Playboy as a monthly in 1953 with a centerfold photo of Marilyn Monroe. Playboy became a massive success, peaking with 7.1 million copies sold for the November, 1972, issue, but the magazine’s fortunes have been in decline in recent years.
Leto won an Academy Award for best supporting actor in 2013’s “Dallas Buyers Club” and starred as the Joker in last year’s “Suicide Squad. ” He will be seen next opposite Ryan Gosling and Harrison Ford in “Blade Runner 2049,” which opens Friday. Leto is repped by CAA.