Cindy Ord/Getty Images; HECTOR MATA/AFP/Getty Images
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October 03, 2017 at 10:55 AM EDT

Jared Leto is stepping into the Playboy Mansion for his next major role.

The Oscar winner has been cast to play Hugh Hefner in an upcoming biopic about the late Playboy founder to be directed by Brett Ratner, the filmmaker told The Hollywood Reporter.

“Jared is an old friend,” Ratner said. “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 is said to be in early development, is one Ratner has wanted to direct for a decade, but his announcement of Leto’s casting comes a week after Hefner died at the age of 91.

Ratner told THR he had hoped to introduce the Playboy magnate to his future portrayer at the premiere of Amazon’s American Playboy: The Hugh Hefner Story series, which was held at the Playboy Mansion earlier this year, but Hefner was reportedly in poor health that day and not greeting guests.

Leto, whose next film is the anticipated Blade Runner 2049, won a best supporting actor Oscar for his performance in 2013’s Dallas Buyers Club and appeared as The Joker in last summer’s Suicide Squad. It was also reported last year that the Thirty Seconds to Mars frontman had signed on to star in and produce a biopic about Andy Warhol.

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