Rumor: Robert Downey Jr. to Play Hugh Hefner?
by Alex Billington
May 24, 2008
We're trying to stay away from rough rumors as much as we can, but this one comes straight from the Chicago Sun-Times, the home of Roger Ebert. They claim that Robert Downey Jr. is the lead man in the running for the role of Hugh Hefner in a biopic about him titled Playboy. The project has been in development for quite a while, with Brett Ratner originally attached as director. Good news, however, the Sun-Times also says that Ratner is no longer attached but may return eventually. Hopefully not. Apparently Hefner himself has "signed off" on Downey, but that Downey is waiting to commit until a script is finished and a director is named. Robert Downey as Playboy's Hugh Hefner? Sounds like an awesome idea to me!
We first mentioned this project last June, when Ratner was attached. Playboy is a biopic about Hugh Hefner, but not in the normal sense. Considering it's troublesome to make a film about Hefner's long life as the icon of the sexual revolution, they've found a way that initially was approved by both Hugh Hefner himself and producer Brian Grazer (Apollo 13, A Beautiful Mind, The Da Vinci Code). The original script was put together by newcomer John Hoffman. The script is still being tweaked and finalized, which is what is holding back the project and Downey Jr.'s decision.
Hugh Hefner was just 27 years old when he launched the first issue of Playboy, featuring the iconic Marilyn Monroe shot. He grew up in Chicago and debuted the magazine there before moving to California. The Sun-Times says Hefner took a liking to Downey Jr. after seeing Iron Man and "admiring his humor and skill in showing his vulnerability." Hell, he was even called a billionaire playboy in that movie and did a great job of pulling of that kind of character, which makes me believe he'd be perfect for this, too. The film is also supposed to shoot in Chicago, however considering the current state of the project, it's unlikely that this will actually move into production for a while.
We'll be sure to update you once we hear anything else on this project. For now, what do you think of Robert Downey Jr. playing Hugh Hefner? Could he pull off yet another billionaire playboy?