Director Brett Ratner Options Hugh Hefner's Life Story

HOLLYWOOD—Mainstream director Brett Ratner's RatPac Entertainment has picked up the rights to Playboy founder Hugh Hefner's life story and plans to co-produce a biopic of Hefner with the iconic publisher's Playboy/Alta Loma Entertainment, reports

Ratner, best known for the Rush Hour trilogy, has had his eye on the Hefner story since 2007, when he was attached to direct a biopic called Playboy for Universal Pictures and Brian Grazer's Imagine Entertainment. News of RatPac optioning Hefner's life rights comes just a day after Amazon Prime debuted its own 10-part docu-series about him, American Playboy: The Hugh Hefner Story.

On his continued drive to bring Hefner's story to the big screen, Deadline quotes Ratner as saying, "I thought it was such a brilliant idea [when Grazer got the rights] that I sent Brian a Playboy pinball machine from the '70s. Scott Silver wrote a script but they could never crack it and then I told Brian there was nobody better for this than me. And then I spent years unable to crack it, as a straight drama, or as a musical. Finally, Diablo Cody pitched a take that seemed promising, but Universal let it go and Jerry Weintraub and Warner Bros grabbed it. And they couldn't crack it either. In the meantime, I went from a seller to a buyer and I'm relieved to have it back so that we can develop it without the impatience from studios."

He added, "Whether young people today read or care about Playboy, this was a guy who had a dream and changed the world. Hefner cared about civil rights, women's rights, the preservation of the arts, jazz ... his magazine featured interviews with important leaders from Malcolm X and Martin Luther King. And with one stroke of genius he changed sexuality in America."

For his part, Hefner said in statement, "In recent years there has been plenty of interest and much conversation about doing a feature film based on my life. 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."

Above, Hugh Hefner photo by Glenn Francis/; Brett Ratner photo by David Shankbone.