Ratner takes over the directing duties for the Universal Pictures and Imagine Entertainment project from Oliver Stone, who left to direct "Jawbreaker," a film about the Afghanistan war and search for al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden, Daily Variety reported Tuesday.
John Hoffman is writing the "Playboy" screenplay for producer Brian Grazer. Hefner, the legendary publisher and playboy still going strong at 81, approved the project during a meeting last week at the Playboy Mansion, Variety said.
"Hef came from a puritanical upbringing and reinvented himself to be the godfather of the sexual revolution," Ratner told Variety. "He also used his magazine to advocate civil rights and free speech, and put James Brown on his show 'Playboy After Dark' when they didn't put black performers on national television.
"He broke all kinds of taboos, especially in sexuality."
There's no starting date yet for the film, which is still in Hoffman's hands, Variety said.