Brett Ratner‘s intention to direct a biopic of Hugh Hefner will fail for one very simple reason. Ratner, one of Hollywood’s more ardent hounds, is too invested in bacchanalian appetites and indulgences to look at Hefner’s life (and the cosmic meaning of same) with any kind of divested perspective.
Brett Ratner, Hugh Hefner (sometimes in the late ’50s), Brian Grazer
Fortified by producer Brian Grazer, a guy also known for randy recreation, Ratner will feel a natural pressure from within his own soul to not only adorn Hefner with flattery and hero worship, portraying the Playboy founder as a super-cool, pipe- smoking revolutionary who relaxed and liberalized 1950s American attitudes about sex, but to cut him a break every which way.
Unless Ratner submits to a personality transplant, his nature will most likely rob the Hefner flick of judgment, tension and angularity. Roman Polanski (who has a small role in Ratner’s Rush Hour 3) was obviously a hound in his day, but he could have brought serious moral focus and irony to the Hefner saga. Anyone in town would have been a better choice than Ratner to direct this thing. The best thing would have been to hire a total non-hound, or at least a guy (or a girl) known for taste and restraint, or even dweebiness. (Todd Solondz?) If Karel Reisz of the ’70s or ’80s had been around…
If physical similarity is the criteria, there’s a fairly obvious choice for the best actor to play Hefner. Does everyone know who I mean?