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Jared Leto to star in Hugh Hefner biopic

image copyrightPlayboy/PA/Getty Images

Actor Jared Leto is to play Hugh Hefner in a new film about the Playboy magazine mogul's life, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Leto is an Oscar winner for his role in 2013's Dallas Buyers Club.

The news comes less than a week after Hefner died at the age of 91.

His death sparked debate about whether Hefner was a pioneer of sexual liberation or actively harmed feminism. The film will be made by X Men: The Last Stand director Brett Ratner.

After Hefner's death, Ratner wrote on Instagram that he was "one of the greatest media and cultural pioneers in history who was responsible for the most significant social and cultural movements of our time in advocating free speech, civil rights and sexual freedom".

image copyrightHandout
image captionPlayboy Bunnies at Hefner's clubs served drinks and wore the now-iconic costume

Ratner said he had "high hopes" that Pirates of the Caribbean 6 co-writer Jeff Nathanson would have time "one day soon" to write the script.

Speaking to the Hollywood Reporter, the director said Leto was "an old friend".

He added: "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."

The film is said to be "in early development" and there are no details of the plot. But it may cover the period when Hefner borrowed $8,000 to produce the first issue of Playboy in 1953, and launched the magazine with a set of nude photos of Marilyn Monroe that had first appeared in a calendar four years earlier.

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