The announcement comes just a week after Hefner passed away at 91, but the film's reportedly been in the works for the better part of a decade. The Hef biopic is the brainchild of Brett Ratner, the guy who gave us Rush Hour and directed the goofiest X-Men movie ever made.
Ratner's been scrambling to tell Hefner's weird-ass life story for years, at one point nabbing Robert Downey Jr. to star before the project went haywire, according to the Reporter. In April, the Big Butt Book–loving director finally got the greenlight to make the movie—and, as he tells it, his "old friend" Leto became the leading contender for the starring role almost immediately.
"When [Leto] heard I got the rights to Hef's story, he told me, 'I want to play him. I want to understand him,'" Ratner told the Reporter. "And I really believe Jared can do it. He's one of the great actors of today."
Ratner even took Leto down to the Playboy mansion for a premiere of the Amazon docuseries American Playboy: The Hugh Hefner Story, which also doubled as the tycoon's 91st birthday party. Ratner had hoped to introduce Leto to the onetime Curb guest star in person, but apparently Hef wasn't feeling well enough for the visit. Still, Ratner's convinced the actor will handle the role just fine.
"There's enough footage on Hef out there that Jared will be able to get as much information as he wants," he told the Reporter.
Leto just finished wrapping up Blade Runner 2049, and he's still slated to play Andy Warhol in another upcoming biopic. The Hefner movie is still in early development, and there's no timeline about when it will go into production, but whenever it does, Leto's co-stars better get ready for some gross-ass gifts behind the scenes.