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Development of Hugh Hefner Biopic Relaunched With Brett Ratner

Variety logo Variety 4/7/2017 Dave McNary
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Brett Ratner is re-launching development on a Hugh Hefner biopic project through his RatPac Entertainment, which has optioned the life rights to the Playboy magazine founder.

The untitled project will be a co-production between Ratpac and Playboy/Alta Loma Entertainment. Ratner will produce with John Cheng and Hefner will be an executive producer along with Dick Rosenzweig and Peter Jaysen.

Ratner was attached a decade ago to direct a Hefner movie with Imagine Entertainment. Amazon Prime launched “American Playboy,” a 13-part documentary series on Hefner, earlier this week.

Hefner launched Playboy in 1953. He turns 91 on April 9. His son Cooper Hefner is currently the public face of the magazine.

“In recent years there has been plenty of interest and much conversation about doing a feature film based on my life,” Hefner said in a statement. “I have always believed that when the timing was truly right, the perfect creative partners would come together for this project. I believe we’ve found those partners in Brett Ratner and RatPac Entertainment. I’m very much looking forward to this collaboration.”

Ratner said Friday: “Hugh Hefner started a sexual revolution from behind the walls of his legendary mansion by using the pages of Playboy Magazine an his own infamous lifestyle to build a global empire that included publishing, clubs, casinos and television networks.”

Ratner and Australian billionaire James Packer are partners in RatPac Entertainment, a production and financing entity that was an investor in 20th Century Fox’s award-winning frontier epic “The Revenant” and also in the ill-fated box office bomb “Rules Don’t Apply.” RatPac Entertainment announced in March that it was producing the courtroom drama “Unfit” with “Fifty Shades” star Dakota Johnson starring and Amazon distributing.

Ratner and Packer are also principals in RatPac-Dune, which has a co-financing and distribution deal with Warner Bros. covering 75 pictures, under which the Burbank studio relies on RatPac-Dune to provide 25% of the financing, except on “Harry Potter” films and their spin-offs. The news about the Hefner biopic was first reported by Deadline Hollywood.

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