In early 2022, it was announced that Harry Potter star Daniel Radcliffe would be portraying ‘Weird Al’ Yankovic in an upcoming Roku biopic about the comedy musician. Many were concerned about the casting choice, given the actor’s British accent and notoriety as the hero of the Wizarding World.
The movie’s official trailer has since been uploaded to YouTube, and given the sneak peek, it’s safe to say Radcliffe was the perfect choice to play the accordion-loving Yankovic.
The film, titled Weird: The Al Yankovic Story, is Roku’s first ever original biopic – sort of. In actuality, the film is a parody of musician biopics, presenting a fictionalized account of Weird Al’s rise to fame. Co-produced by Funny Or Die and Tango, and written by Yankovic and Eric Appel, it will be available to stream exclusively on The Roku Channel starting November 4, 2022.
At the time the parody biopic was announced, Roku revealed:
“The biopic holds nothing back, exploring every facet of Yankovic’s life, from his meteoric rise to fame with his early hits like ‘Eat It’ and ‘Like a Surgeon’ to his torrid celebrity love affairs and famously depraved lifestyle. Weird: The Al Yankovic Story takes audiences on a truly unbelievable journey through Yankovic’s life and career, from gifted child prodigy to the greatest music legend of all time.”
The newly-released trailer begins with Yankovic’s parents telling him to “stop” being who he is and doing the things he loves, followed by him being caught at a “polka party.” What ensues is the fictionalized journey the protagonist embarks on after succumbing to the insatiable urge to “make up new words to a song that already exists.”
The first song he takes a crack at? The Knack’s “My Sharona,” which he turns into an ode to Bolonga, titled “My Bologna.”
Along with meeting broadcaster Dr. Demento, played by The Office‘s Rainn Wilson, the movie follows the (fictional) love affair between Yankovic and Madonna, portrayed by Evan Rachel Wood. While their relationship didn’t actually happen, it’s reported Madonna did approach Yankovic to parody her single, “Like a Virgin.”
His take, “Like a Surgeon,” was released on his third studio album, 1985’s Dare to Be Stupid.
Yankovic is the best-selling comedy musician of all time, with five Grammy Awards under his belt, including for Best Comedy Recording and Best Comedy Album, as well as many more nominations.
In 2014, he became the first comedy artist to have their album debut in the top spot of the Billboard Top 200 chart, and he is one of only three musicians to have Top 40 hits in each of the last four decades, along with Madonna and Michael Jackson.
Writing in a statement at the beginning of the year, the musician said:
“When my last movie UHF came out in 1989, I made a solemn vow to my fans that I would release a major motion picture every 33 years, like clockwork. I’m very happy to say we’re on schedule, and I am absolutely thrilled that Daniel Radcliffe will be portraying me in the film. I have no doubt whatsoever that this is the role future generations will remember him for.”
Things are about to get weird. Daniel Radcliffe is set to star in the all-new feature film WEIRD: The @AlYankovic Story, a Roku Original based on the career of the Grammy-winning musician and pop cultural icon. pic.twitter.com/ZNHOP3eJFv
— The Roku Channel (@TheRokuChannel) January 18, 2022
Weird: The Al Yankovic Story also stars Will Forte, Julianne Nicholson, Spencer Treat Clark and Toby Huss. Quinta Brunson, best known for creating and starring in the sitcom Abbott Elementary, will portray Oprah Winfrey.
Funny Or Die’s Mike Farah, Whitney Hodack and Joe Farrell serve as producers, as do Tim Headington, Max Silva and Lia Buman of Tango. Along with co-writing the movie, Eric Appel also serves as director and an executive producer.
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Prior to premiering on The Roku Channel, Weird: The Al Yankovic Story is slated to screen as part of the Toronto International Film Festival’s Midnight Madness program in September 2022.