Donald Spoto, Geraldine Ferraro, and more made headlines in the book world this week

THE GREAT DICTATOR Marlon Brando, who has retired from acting before, is planning another career finale: He wants to play an aging dictator in the screen version of Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s 1975 novel, The Autumn of the Patriarch. According to the Colombian newsweekly Semana, the Nobel laureate recently gave his blessing to the project. Creative Artists Agency, which represents Brando, had no comment. Carmen Balcells, Garcia Marquez’s agent, also declined to discuss the project, saying ”Though we are negotiating…we are not going to disclose any details…until a contract has been signed.”

HEAVEN HELP HIM Donald Spoto, author of Diana: Her Last Year, has also chronicled the lives of Ingrid Bergman, Alfred Hitchcock, Elizabeth Taylor, Marilyn Monroe, and James Dean. Now he wants to become the ultimate celebrity biographer. His Jesus: A Biography is due from St. Martin’s next fall.

GERRY BUILT Geraldine Ferraro has struck a $200,000 deal to write a book about four generations of Ferraro women. ”She’s using her family to show the American immigrant experience,” says Lisa Drew, who will publish the tentatively titled Framing a Life under her own imprint at Scribner late next year.

A PITT STOP Actress mom, crazy mom — same diff. Gwyneth Paltrow will team with Meryl Streep to star in the movie version of Jacki Lyden’s memoir, Daughter of the Queen of Sheba. Paltrow told Lyden that she could really relate to her story of having a delusional mother, since Paltrow’s own mother — actress Blythe Danner — was always taking on different roles. Meanwhile, Paltrow’s ex, Brad Pitt, popped up as the main attraction at a book party for Practical Intuition‘s Laura Day, though he admitted he hadn’t actually read the self-help maven’s latest.