When considering the director best suited to chronicling the life of Playboy founder Hugh Hefner, there can be few better choices than Brett Ratner.
After all, the model-photographing, hard-living Ratner is like the Hef’s lost son, who finds time to direct films between his flashy lifestyle. So word that he’s nabbed the chance to bring him to the screen in Playboy isn’t really a shock. The project has been brewing for years at Brian Grazer’s Imagine company and Universal, ever since Grazer bought the rights to Hefner’s life. It hasn’t been easy working out how to use them – a musical was considered and dropped, and biopic expert Oliver Stone flirted with the idea, burning through several script drafts before Ratner and writer John Hoffman cooked up a version that both Grazer and Hefner liked.
"Hef came from a puritanical upbringing and reinvented himself to be the godfather of the sexual revolution," Ratner gassed to Variety. "He also used his magazine to advocate civil rights and free speech, and put James Brown on his show Playboy After Dark when they didn't put black performers on national television. He broke all kinds of taboos, especially in sexuality. I want to show it all, from the First Amendment struggles to his first orgy to the stroke in the 1980s that almost killed him."
But before he can even consider putting a film version of Hef on screen, he has to wait for Hoffman to rewrite the script. Meanwhile, he’s still busily working away on an Ocean’s Eleven-style caper with Eddie Murphy and Chris Rock attached as thieves who try to knock over the rich tenants of New York’s famed Trump Tower.
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