Mere days after the infamous Playboy founder passed away, leaving a torrent of articles dissecting his problematic legacy in his wake, it has been announced that the long-discussed Hugh Hefner biopic is officially chugging forward again.
Brett Ratner will be helming the biopic about the divisive lothario starring none other than the equally divisive actor Jared Leto.
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Over a decade ago, director Brett Ratner (Tower Heist) began developing a Hugh Hefner biopic called Playboy. Brian Grazer was going to produce the film about the founder of Playboy, which Oliver Stone once developed a few drafts for alongside 8 Mile screenwriter Scott Silver. Ratner and all involved talked about Robert Downey Jr. and Hugh Jackman for the role, but eventually Universal dropped the project and Ratner moved on. Now, he’s circled back to it and intends to produce the film.
Below, learn more about the potential, long-gestating Hugh Hefner movie.
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Amazon has released a trailer for their new docuseries American Playboy. The 13-episode television show draws from unprecedented access to more than 17,000 hours of footage and 2,600-plus scrapbooks from Hugh Hefner‘s personal archives. Check out the American Playboy trailer now, embedded after the jump.
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Posted on Wednesday, December 18th, 2013 by Angie Han
Playboy founder Hugh Hefner has cropped up in quite a few movies and shows over the decades. Sometimes, he’s played by himself, as in Entourage, Curb Your Enthusiasm, and The House Bunny; other times, actors are called upon to play younger versions of him, as in The Playboy Club and Lovelace.
But those have all been supporting roles or cameos. Now, he’s finally getting a biopic all to himself. David Dobkin is reportedly in talks with Warner Bros. to direct, from a script by Peter Morgan (Rush). Hit the jump for all the details on the project.
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For years, Imagine Entertainment and Universal worked to make a biopic about Playboy founder Hugh Hefner, with Brett Ratner attached to direct and actors like Robert Downey, Jr. and Hugh Jackman mentioned as possible picks to play the magazine mogul. But the closest Hef has come to creating a starring role on the big screen is a James Franco cameo in Lovelace, which has Amanda Seyfried as porn star turned anti-porn icon Linda Lovelace.
But that Hugh Hefner biopic has now moved to Warner Bros., where it will be produced by Jerry Weintraub, the producer who once worked with Elvis, Sinatra and Dylan, and helped make Steven Soderbergh’s Ocean’s films at WB. Read More »
Trailers are an under-appreciated art form insofar that many times they’re seen as vehicles for showing footage, explaining films away, or showing their hand about what moviegoers can expect. Foreign, domestic, independent, big budget: I celebrate all levels of trailers and hopefully this column will satisfactorily give you a baseline of what beta wave I’m operating on, because what better way to hone your skills as a thoughtful moviegoer than by deconstructing these little pieces of advertising? Some of the best authors will tell you that writing a short story is a lot harder than writing a long one, that you have to weigh every sentence. What better medium to see how this theory plays itself out beyond that than with movie trailers?
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I can see how Brett Ratner and Hugh Hefner would go together like compact mirrors and rolled up banknotes, and Robert Downey Jr. can easily sit at the same table with me only feeling a vague sense of disappointment and not weird awkardness but… Diablo Cody? The Hef himself has this week had a meeting with Cody “to talk about the Brian Grazer Playboy film”. Would I ever be able to look at that credits roll without singing “One of these kids is doing their own thing”?
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As you know, Brett Ratner has been developing Playboy, a big screen biography of Hugh Hefner. Announced in 2007, we’ve heard nothing about this project in a while. This week I came across a new television commercial directed by Ratner, featuring Hefner. Oh yeah, and a dozen Playboy Playmates too. Of course, it’s just another one of those hack parodies of the Tom Cruise / Risky Business scene. You wouldn’t expect anything really creative from Ratner, would you?
I also discovered some behind the scenes b-roll footage on YouTube, and noticed that Ratner is seen talking on his cellphone while the girls do their thing in front of the cameras. It is unclear if they were actually filming or just doing a rehearsal. For Ratner’s sake, I hope it was just a rehearsal. I can’t think of anything more obnoxious than a hack director talking on a cellphone during the filming of a scene.
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Over the last six months, I’ve had four unrelated sources tell me off the record that Robert Downey Jr. was a total lock to star in a Hugh Hefner biopic entitled Playboy. Of course, this was before Iron Man‘s grosses went interstellar. Chicago’s Sun Times now reports that the actor is close to signing on, even though the original director, Brett Ratner, is purportedly no longer attached, but may circle back (I bet.) for producer Brian Grazer.
Would Marvel Studios be cool with Downey Jr. playing a porn magnate? The company recently tossed out the R-rating, so it might be iffy territory. In my view, Tony Stark is not exactly Clark Kent, and this role would only increase Downey’s mainstream visibility. Moreover, Hefner’s story is not mired in smut like a Larry Flynt or a Bob Guccinone–it’s by far the more mainstream rags-to-riches tale. But some people in the know have serious doubts. Is the box office there for this movie? Does Downey need to risk it? Will the film hold relevance in the quickening era of YouPorn and Xtube? They have a point (Playboy is venturing into the gay biz for a reason).
The Sun Times reports that Downey’s people have emphasized that nothing is final until a script and/or director is finalized. As you might expect, there are certain unprecedented benefits to playing this role. We’ll see what happens. Tropic Thunder, which looks to be a huge hit, will only strengthen Downey’s demands and demand.
Discuss: Should Downey take the role or pass? Are you interested in seeing the story of Hugh Hefner? Â
“Mayonaise. Nom nom nom.”
Pssssssst, put your ear up to the monitor. Here that? That’s the sound of so many strikes at a bowling alley. Brett Ratner and Eddie Murphy: together at last for a presumably plastic potty-humored family comedy! Ratner is in talks to helm a remake of the 1957 movie The Incredible Shrinking Man for Universal, with Murphy circling the lead. The script is by Thomas Lennon and Reno 9-11‘s Robert Ben Garant (The Pacifier, Night at the Museum), and HR reports that it tells the tale of a Las Vegas magician who falls under a spell that causes him to lure ’00s Eddie Murphy gradually shrink to the point of disappearing. Brian Grazer will produce.
In related but not related discussion, where this leaves Ratner’s biopic about Hugh Hefner is unforeseen. Rick Moranis has not yet chimed in on his feelings about Ratner invading his “shrink” territory. I predict $200 million at the box office, and $230 mill if there’s a talking dog, cat, bumble bee and/or Murphy rides on top of said creatures. Sleep soundly tonight imagining what Ratner’s vision for a “Las Vegas magician” will look like.
Discuss: If you were forced to choose between watching one Ratner movie Clockwork Orange-style non-stop for three months or lopping off your pinkie after four huge margaritas, which? And Money Talks is excluded.