Downey Jr. to play Hefner?

and -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 10:47 PM ET

From one womanizing, monstrously rich superhero to another.

Now that he's starred as Tony Stark a.k.a. Iron Man, reports are circulating Robert Downey Jr. may next portray Playboy founder Hugh Hefner in a biopic of the publishing legend.

The Chicago Sun-Times says Hefner has given his blessing to the production -- and the potential casting of Downey Jr. -- which is currently entitled Playboy.

When the project was announced last year, Leonardo DiCaprio was reported to be circling the Hef-ty role while Brett Ratner (Rush Hour) was attached to direct. However, now it looks like both DiCaprio and Hefner are out, with the script being rewritten in the hopes of luring Downey Jr. Should the 43-year-old actor choose to don the slippers and smoking jacket, it will most likely be after he bolts himself back into Stark's crimson-and-gold armour. Marvel has announced a May 2010 release for a sequel, meaning cameras will probably start rolling in early 2009.

TWO MORE SPINS FOR SPIDEY? Speaking of Marvel, while the publisher-turned-studio plots big-screen adaptations of Captain America, Thor, the Avengers and even Ant-Man, there's been little word about their signature friendly neighbourhood wall-crawler. That's because Sony, not Marvel, controls that particular film franchise and executives there are currently mulling how to follow up the hugely profitable but creatively disappointing Spider-Man 3.

Recently online rumours have popped up that the studio may shoot Spider-Man 4 and 5 simultaneously in 2009 or 2010.

James Vanderbilt (Zodiac), who started working on the script before this year's writers guild strike, has apparently penned a screenplay that could be easily split into two. The more pressing issue for Sony brass, though, isn't how many more Spider sequels to bankroll, but who should star in and direct them.

Sam Raimi, who helmed the first three movies, has numerous irons in the fire, including a reboot of Tom Clancy's Jack Ryan franchise. And with Tobey Maguire and Kristen Dunst non-committal about reprising Peter Parker and Mary-Jane Watson in more Spider sequels, their presumably pricey salary demands could have Sony looking to re-cast from scratch, both in front of and behind the camera.

SEX AWAY FROM THE CITY: It's tough to go from a movie/TV series that's all about the women, to the real Hollywood, where they're seen and not heard.

Ask Kristin Davis, a.k.a. Charlotte on Sex and the City, who played "the wife" in two movies between the show's end in 2004 and this week's Sex and the City movie. One was The Shaggy Dog with Tim Allen, and the other was Deck the Halls, opposite Matthew Broderick (real-life hubby to SATC's Sarah Jessica Parker).

"I would say we were intensely spoiled creatively," she says of SATC. "No one's saying stuff like, 'Y'know, the female character doesn't need to have lines in this scene.' Which actually happened. I was like, 'Huh? No one told me that when you begged me to take this role.' I was shocked."

She won't identify the movie, but says "we were treated as producers on the show, to the point where Jeremy Connolly, our production designer would talk to me about Charlotte's furniture. So (on the movie in question), I walked onto one set and they said, 'That's your office.' And I said, 'That's awful. Why would I have an office like this?' And they said, 'You don't get to say that.' And I was like, 'Oh.' "

Meanwhile, if you see Davis in a restaurant or bar, do not, I repeat, do not order her the show's trademark Cosmopolitan.

"I'm sober and I don't drink them and I consider it quite the waste when people buy them for me. I try to explain across the room that I don't drink. And for a while it was apple martinis. It's a sweet gesture, but it just makes me feel guilty."


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