Playboy Places Brett Ratner-Directed Hugh Hefner Biopic on Hold

Brett Ratner - 2016 AJHS Emma Lazarus Statue of Liberty Award - Getty - H 2017
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Jared Leto's publicist says he won't be working on the project.

Playboy is placing its business relationship with filmmaker Brett Ratner on hold in response to allegations from six women of sexual harassment and misconduct.

Jared Leto was reportedly set to star in Ratner’s long-planned biopic of the late Playboy founder Hugh Hefner. Ratner was also developing a reboot of the late-1960s variety-talk mash-up Playboy After Dark.

Despite the earlier report, Leto's representative Robin Baum now tells The Hollywood Reporter that he "is not and was not attached to a Brett Ratner-directed Hugh Hefner film, nor will he be working with him in the future."

The project collapsed within hours of the publication of a Los Angeles Times report published Wednesday morning, which detailed a range of accusations against Ratner that allegedly took place in private homes, at industry events and on movie sets over a period of years. Among the women to speak out were Olivia Munn and Natasha Henstridge.

Ratner’s attorney Martin Singer “categorically” disputed the accounts.

“We are deeply troubled to learn about the accusations against Brett Ratner,” a Playboy Enterprises spokesperson said Wednesday in a statement. “We find this kind of behavior completely unacceptable. We are putting all further development of our projects with RatPac Entertainment on hold until we are able to review the situation further.”

Warner Bros. has also announced that it is reviewing a $450-million co-financing deal with RatPac. Ratner had spent years pursuing the Hefner project, first with Brian Grazer as executive producer and at one point with Robert Downey Jr. attached to star.

“It’s like making a movie about Walt Disney,” Ratner explained of the challenging scope of the biopic in a July interview with The Hollywood Reporter. Hefner’s death at 91 on Sept. 27 was marked by a fierce debate about his and Playboy’s treatment of women, with critics decrying the relationship as, on the whole, oppressive and retrograde. 

Nov. 1, 2 p.m: Updated with a statement from Jared Leto's publicist.