Jared Leto is still prepping for the big premiere of “Blade Runner 2049” later this week and has already landed a brand new role. The actor and musician will be playing Playboy mogul Hugh Hefner in an upcoming biopic, according to The Hollywood Reporter, who first broke the news.

This is what it looks like to strike while the iron is hot: Hugh Hefner died last week at age 91 and his legacy is extremely controversial – hailed as a pioneer and a visionary by some, criticized for his objectification of women by others. Jared Leto, who won an Academy Award for his role in “Dallas Buyers Club,” will surely be polarizing in his portrayal of the billionaire.

A Brett Ratner project

The biopic will be developed under Brett Ratner’s RatPac Entertainment. According to his own words, choosing Jared Leto to play Hefner was more than a matter of believing in his excellence as an actor; it was somewhat related to the real-life friendship between him and the actor. Leto, 45, is “an old friend” and expressed a strong desire to play Hefner when he learned that Ratner had acquired the rights to the mogul’s story.

Ratner told The Hollywood Reporter that Leto said he wanted to “understand” Hefner. The producer also gushed about Leto’s mastery of the craft, calling him “one of the great actors of today” and stating he really believes the Hollywood darling can do it.

Jared Leto was not the first choice

What’s interesting about this new development is that Robert Downey Jr. was once set to play Hugh Hefner, when Brett Ratner started working on the project (Hugh Jackman was also on the table). That was ten years ago. The film, which was supposed to be produced by Universal Pictures and Imagine Entertainment, never left the drawing boards.

Ratner was only able to acquire the rights to Hefner’s story after the previous owner, producer Jerry Weintraub, died in 2015. Weintraub had been toying with the idea ever since he purchased the rights, after Universal and Imagine let them expire. He didn't get a chance to do it.

Interestingly enough, Jared Leto never got to meet Hugh Hefner, even though he went to the Playboy Mansion earlier this year for the premiere of “American Playboy: The Hugh Hefner Story”, an Amazon original docuseries starring Matt Whelan and Emmet Skilton.

That's when Ratner first announced he was re-launching the project for a feature film about Hefner's life. The Playboy mogul himself commented on the timing, saying Ratner and RatPac Entertainment were the perfect creative partners for the project.

When will the biopic begin shooting? There is no word on that. All Ratner says is that he wants this movie to be done "as an event."