Jared Leto Denies He Ever Agreed to Play Hugh Hefner in Brett Ratner-Directed Biopic
“Jared Leto is not and was not attached to a Brett Ratner directed Hugh Hefner film, nor will he be working with him in the future,” a representative for the actor said in a statement Wednesday. “Earlier reports were incorrect and not confirmed by his representatives.”
The film has also been put on hold by Playboy. “We are deeply troubled to learn about the accusations against Brett Ratner,” a Playboy Enterprises spokesperson said in a statement to Entertainment Weekly. “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.”
VIDEO: Olivia Munn and Multiple Women Accuse Film Producer Brett Ratner of Sexual Misconduct
Six women—including actresses Olivia Munn and Natasha Henstridge—spoke out against Ratner, 48, in an article published by the Los Angeles Times Wednesday. Munn said that while visiting the set of the 2004 Ratner-directed film After the Sunset, he masturbated in front of her.
In a statement to the L.A. Times, Ratner’s attorney Martin Singer vehemently disputed the specific allegations and said “no woman has ever made a claim against him for sexual misconduct or sexual harassment. Furthermore, no woman has ever requested or received any financial settlement from my client.”
Ratner, a longtime Hollywood power player known for directing the Rush Hour series and producing movies like Horrible Bosses and The Revenant, previously told The Hollywood Reporter that Leto would star in the upcoming Hefner project.
“Jared is an old friend,” Ratner told the outlet. “When he heard I got the rights to Hef’s story, he told me, ‘I want to play him. I want to understand him.’ And I really believe Jared can do it. He’s one of the great actors of today.”
The project, which was said to be in early development, is one Ratner has wanted to direct for a decade. His announcement of Leto’s casting came a week after Hefner died at the age of 91.
In addition to Munn’s allegations, Henstridge told the L.A. Times that when she was 19, she was forced to perform oral sex on Ratner in his New York apartment after watching a movie with a group of friends. Henstridge alleged Ratner blocked the doorway when she tried to leave and began touching himself.
“He strong-armed me in a real way,” she said. “He physically forced himself on me. At some point, I gave in and he did his thing.”
Actresses Jaime Ray Newman and Katharine Towne also claim Ratner made unwanted, aggressive advances to them on a plane and at a party, respectively.