The film, to carry the title of his magazine, will be directed by Brett Ratner, whose credits include the "Rush Hour" movies and "X-Men: The Last Stand."
It will be produced for Universal Pictures by Brian Grazer, who won the best picture Oscar in 2002 for "A Beautiful Mind."
Hefner, 81, sold the rights to his story to Grazer several years ago. He approved the project last week.
"Hef came from a puritanical upbringing and reinvented himself to be the godfather of the sexual revolution," Ratner told Daily Variety, which reported the deal Monday.
"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," Ratner was quoted as saying. "He broke all kinds of taboos, especially in sexuality. I want to show it all, from the First Amendment struggles to his first orgy to the stroke in the 1980s that almost killed him."