- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 3, 2017

It took Hollywood less than one week after Playboy founder Hugh Hefner’s death at age 91 to declare the actor who will portray him on the big screen: Jared Leto.

The man who played Joker in 2016’s “Suicide Squad” will soon take on a completely different persona in a Hugh Hefner biopic by RatPac Entertainment. Producer Bret Ratner told The Hollywood Reporter on Tuesday that his company, which has owned the rights to Mr. Hefner’s life story since 2015, is confident that Mr. Leto will ace the role.

Jared is an old friend,” Mr. Ratner said of the 45-year-old actor. “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.”

Mr. Ratner, who plans to direct the feature, said the star recently went to the Playboy Mansion to view the Amazon’s docuseries “American Playboy: The Hugh Hefner Story,” but was unable to speak to magazine’s founder about the project.

“There’s enough footage on Hef out there that Jared will be able to get as much information as he wants,” the director said.

Mr. Leto’s next big-budget theatrical appearance will be this Friday with the release of “Blade Runner 2049.” The film stars Ryan Gosling and features Harrison Ford of 1982’s original “Bladerunner.”

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