Quick Takes: Linda Ronstadt plans memoir

Linda Ronstadt broke barriers for women as one of the top-selling artists of her generation, and she’s going to detail how she did it in a new memoir for Simon & Schuster.

The book publisher announced Thursday that it had acquired her autobiography, titled “Heart Like a Wheel,” after her Grammy-winning, multiplatinum album.

Ronstadt sold tens of millions of records starting in the 1970s with pop hits such as “You’re No Good” and “When Will I Be Loved.” But she also segued into country, pop standards and mariachi music, among other genres. She also had high-profile romances with California Gov. Jerry Brown and George Lucas.

The book is due in 2013


—Associated Press

Joe Pesci sues film company

Joe Pesci claims the makers of a biopic on the Gotti family have made him an offer he can refuse: a lesser part in the movie and a $2-million salary cut.

The actor sued Fiore Films this week, seeking the $3 million he said he was promised to play the role of a childhood friend and enforcer of crime boss John Gotti Sr.


Pesci claims the company used his name and likeness to promote the movie and attract investors, but now doesn’t want to honor its original offer to him. He has been offered a lesser role for a $1 million payday, the lawsuit stated.

Fiore Chief Executive Marc Fiore rejected the claims, saying he received correspondence months ago from the actor’s representatives telling him Pesci was pulling out of the project.

—Associated Press

Director passes on ‘Thor 2'


“Thor” director Kenneth Branagh is walking away from Asgard, and no one is sadder than star Chris Hemsworth.

“I’m really disappointed,” Hemsworth said of Branagh’s decision to pass on “Thor 2,” which is aiming for a July 2013 release and may begin filming next May. “Ken built that character, and everything I know about the Thor world I learned while shoulder-to-shoulder with Ken. I learned so much from him.”

By all reports, Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige invited Branagh back to follow up his success of “Thor,” the May 6 release that has grossed $447 million in worldwide box office. The 50-year-old filmmaker seemed energized by the prospects of a sequel but finally decided against it. He will be busy as the returning star of the acclaimed British television series “Wallander” and with his ramping work with a theater group in his native Belfast.

A replacement has not yet been hired.


—Geoff Boucher

Top directors at Venice film fest

The 68th Venice Film Festival, which is to take place Aug. 31 through Sept. 10, unveiled a lineup Thursday that features works by many well-known filmmakers.

Besides the previously announced opening-night film, “The Ides of March,” the political thriller starring and directed by George Clooney, Venice will be screening such high-profile productions as Tomas Alfredson’s “Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy,” David Cronenberg’s “A Dangerous Method,” William Friedkin’s “Killer Joe,” Steve McQueen’s “Shame,” Roman Polanski’s “Carnage” and Todd Solondz’s “Dark Horse.”


Several of these films will also be screening at the Toronto Film Festival, which runs Sept. 8-19.

Venice is the first major fall film festival and is one of the first stops for filmmakers hoping the exposure will lead to Oscar gold in February.

—Susan King

‘Hostel’ horrors at Universal


“Hostel” writer-director Eli Roth tweeted last year that he wanted to create a maze for Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios Hollywood, and now he is.

The theme park said its annual fright fest would feature a “Hostel” maze this year that “re-imagines the film’s dehumanizing torture chambers and sends guests on a spiraling journey through the corrupt halls of Elite Hunting’s torture factory.”

Universal’s Halloween event begins Sept. 23 and runs on select nights through Oct. 31.

—Lee Margulies



In jeopardy: Alex Trebek, the 71-year-old host of the TV game show “Jeopardy!,” was due to undergo surgery Friday to repair an Achilles tendon he ruptured while chasing a woman who allegedly burglarized the San Francisco hotel room where he and his wife were staying.