Selena Gomez will play Linda Ronstadt in a new biopic about the musician

Selena Gomez has a new biopic role! So who is 70s music icon Linda Ronstadt?

She was handpicked to play the part by the subject herself

Selena Gomez is playing Linda Ronstadt in an upcoming film about her life and career.

Selena has had quite a week, eh? After not winning in her category at the Golden Globes for Only Murders In the Building, she was still all anyone could talk about. See, she may or may not have been spilling some tea to Taylor Swift and Keleigh Teller. This was not just any gossip but about how Kylie Jenner may or may not have let her take a picture with her boyfriend, Timothée Chalamet.

After claiming it was about something else, she vowed to take a break from Instagram for the umpteenth time after it all got too much. However, as all children of the internet could predict, Selena was back merely a few hours later.  It’s great to know that stars really are just like us, believing that leaving social media is just closing the app for a bit, maybe putting it on airplane mode while you take a bath.

Another cherry on top of Selena’s week included being confirmed as the lucky actress tasked with playing singer Linda Ronstadt in her biopic. The film, which is currently in pre-production according to Variety, is being brought to life by Linda’s manager John Boylan and James Keach, who made the 2019 documentary Linda Ronstadt: The Sound of My Voice. No other casting decisions have been announced.

Selena, who is reportedly working on her fourth studio album,  broke the news with a snap of Linda’s 2013 memoir Simple Dreams on her Instagram Story, leaving many people unfamiliar to ask just who is Linda Ronstadt is.

Linda Ronstadt is an 11-time Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter

She has worked across genres since the 1960s, such as folk, country, rock and even jazz.

Over the last six decades, she sold over 100 million copies of her 24 studio albums, helped by getting 38 songs on the US Billboard 100. Like most modern music icons, Linda has reinvented herself again and over her career.

Linda has defied genres and, as any current musical icon will tell you, has reinvented herself again and again.

She has worked across genres since her debut in the 1960s. She cut her teeth as a professional musician, playing mainly folk rock and country rock in bands like The Stone Poneys.

Where did she grow up?

Linda was born and raised in Tucson, Arizona, on July 15th 1948, making her 77 years old. The third of four children, she was the daughter of machinery merchant Gilbert and her stay-at-home mother, Ruth. As a family, they all lived on a ten-acre ranch. Before venturing out into new musical fields, she formed a band with her brother Peter and her sister Gretchen. The trio, who also have brother Michael, would perform at coffee shops and similar spots all over the southwest.

Just like Selena, she has Mexican roots, and they are said to have bonded over their shared heritage when she went to visit her at her “getting to know each other” according to John.

When did she go solo?

Linda’s solo career began in 1969. Her debut album, Hand Sown… Home Grown is widely considered to be the first-ever alternative country record made by a female artist. Along with her contemporaries, Stevie Nicks, Joni Mitchell and Carly Simon, she is widely regarded as one of ‘The Queens of Rock’, a nickname first applied by US Weekly.

After earning the impressive milestone of six consecutive platinum albums, including ‘Simple Dreams’ and ‘Heart Like A Wheel’, she has spoken out about the loneliness of life on the road.

“They haven’t invented a word for that loneliness that everybody goes through on the road,” Linda, who has played all over the world, once remarked.

What else has she done?

Linda got into her musical theatre era when she appeared as Mabel in the Pirates of Penzance, first at Central Park’s Delacorte Theatre in 1980 and then again when it relocated to Broadway.

The Gilbert and Sullivan operetta also transformed her to a Golden Globe-nominated screen when she co-starred with Angela Lansbury and Kevin Kline for the 1983 film version.

Seven years after first making a splash on the New York stage, Linda returned to appear in a production of of Canciones De Mi Padre, a musical honouring her Mexican heritage and featuring her youth’s traditional songs.

Who has she performed with?

Quite frankly, loads. Too many to name. To really hammer home the point, Linda released an album, Duets, in 2014, which does exactly what it says on the tin. It showcases pairing that she has done throughout her storied career, like with James Taylor, Frank Dolly Parton and Emmy Lou Harris, the last two she notably joined forces with to create the country pop supergroup Trio (think Boygenius of the 80s).

What about her love life?

As Selena was with Justin Bieber and now with Benny Blanco, Linda’s dating life was constant tabloid fodder at the height of her fame. Its power probably reached its peak when she was potentially made First Lady when she became the girlfriend of the current Governor of California, Jerry Brown, who was also running for President. No big deal.

She kept it a bit more showbiz in the 1980s with whom she dated as she went out with Jim Carrey in 1983, before moving on to Star Wars creator George Lucas. The pair were engaged for five years between 1983 to 1988.

Linda, who has never married, became a parent when she adopted her daughter Mary and added to her brood when she adopted her son Carlos four years later.

What political causes has she championed?

Just like Selena’s attitude towards the Israel-Palestine conflict, Linda has had her fair share of heat for her beliefs. After being criticised for not going along with the cultural boycott of apartheid South Africa and accepting half a million dollars to perform at a resort in 1983, Linda remarked that she didn’t like being told I can’t go somewhere”. She also was both defended and called out by Paul Simon, who acknowledged her liberal politics.

These were better on show when Linda sparked outrage and praised the filmmaker Michael Moore’s 200x documentary about the Iraq War, Fahrenheit 9/11, while on stage at the Aladdin Theatre in Las Vegas.

According to reports at the time, she was met with mixed, yet passionate, reactions when she dubbed Michael as “someone who cares about this country deeply and is trying to help.”

Many angrily departed the theatre, and it’s president, Bill Timmis, banned her from ever coming back. In response, a string of Linda’s famous friends, such as the Eagles, stood in solidarity with her, who cancelled their upcoming gigs there. Building on this, Linda refused to remain quiet, writing an op-ed for the New York Times about the right to freedom of expression, which was met with further support from rock icons like The Rolling Stones, Sir Elton John, and many more.

Linda kept beating that George Bush-shaped drum at a 2006 concert in Canada, saying that she was “embarrassed” by the current occupant of the White House and his decision to wage war, calling it “as immoral as racism”. However, in 2007, she admitted that she didn’t regret speaking out, but she would have been “much more gracious” if she could have a re-do at things.

In 2009, she declared herself an LGBT ally in an article for PlanetInc with the headline ‘Linda Ronstadt’s Gay Mission’, throwing her support for same-sex marriage, telling them: “Homophobia is anti-family values. Period, end of story.”

Another issue she has been active on includes the fight back against racist and cruel border policies maintained in her home state of Arizona, like in 2010 when she got involved with the National Day of Action. Linda also added her name to lawsuits opposing legislation, increasing police power.

“The police don’t protect us in a democracy with brute force,” Linda told reporters at the time.

What is she doing now? 

2000 marked Linda slowing down her career, a move motivated by the quality of her singing voice starting to fade. However, she still managed to release an album, Humming to Myself, in 2004, which so far has been her most recent release. Her last live performance was in 2009, and she formally retired in 2011 following her Parkinson’s diagnosis, which fully tipped her voice to the edge.

Where might you have heard her recently?

Fans of the HBO series The Last of US would have heard her 1970 song A Long, Long Time in the tear-jerking third episode. The instalment of the pandemic dystopian drama showcased the love story of Bill and Frank, played by Nick Offerman and Murray Barlett, respectively, gaining both audience and critical approval. The ballad of unrequited love was selected to mark a turning point in their relationship, with Frank’s rendition melting the heart of survivalist Bill.

“We had this idea that Bill and Frank would connect over a song. That would be the thing that would essentially lead Frank to feel differently about Bill, not just to go ‘oh, I see what’s going on with this guy,’ but also to want him,” the show’s creator Craig Mazin told the official podcast.

Related stories recommended by this writer:

Greta Gerwig thinks that sexist Golden Globes joke might have missed the point of Barbie

Guys, 50 Cent has taken a vow of ‘abstinence’ for 2024 so he can focus

Professional lip reader says Selena Gomez definitely was gossiping about Kylie and Timothée

Photo credit via David Fisher/Shutterstock and Ian Dickson/Shutterstock