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Hugh Hefner's Biopic Lacks a Star

As Warner Brothers pursue the 'Wedding Crashers' director, could Hugh Jackman or Robert Downey, Jr. take the lead?

December 18, 2013 6:25 PM ET
Hugh Hefner
Hugh Hefner
Paul Drinkwater/NBCU Photo Bank

Veteran comedy director David Dobkin is reportedly in talks to direct a still-untitled Hugh Hefner biopic for Warner Brothers, Variety reports. The drama will focus on the Playboy mogul's rise to success and his decadent swinger lifestyle.

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The film is being produced by Jerry Weintraub and written by acclaimed screenwriter Peter Morgan, best known for penning dramas like 2006's The Queen and 2008's Ron Howard-directed Frost/Nixon. But Dobkin's presence is a major turning point for the project, which has endured a rocky history: Universal was originally handling the film (with talks of Hugh Jackman and Robert Downey Jr. playing the Hefner role), but it eventually fizzled out before being picked up by Warners. The Hefner role remains unclaimed.

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Though Variety labeled the biopic as a drama, it will reportedly feature comedic elements, as well. Dobkin's resume is filled mostly with comedies – including the 2005 smash Wedding Crashers and 2011's The Change-Up – but he's shifting gears with the upcoming 2014 dramedy The Judge.

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Biopics have been all the rage lately, and 2014 is shaping up to be a good year on that front: Emile Hirsch has signed on to play John Belushi in a still-untitled film written and directed by Steve Conrad (The Pursuit of Happyness, The Weather Man), while Don Cheadle will direct and star as Miles Davis in Kill the Trumpet Player, which focuses on the jazz great's hiatus between 1975 and 1979.

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