If you’re a fan of comedy music, you know who Weird Al is. Even if you’re not a fan of his work, you’ve at least heard one of his countless song parodies since he began pumping them out in the 80s. He has had singles in the Top 40 for over four decades, a feat that few artists could claim. It’s only natural then that Weird Al would get a biopic about his life at some point, hence Weird: The Al Yankovic Story. But man oh man, is it something else.
Closing out New York Comic Con, director Eric Appel, Daniel Radcliffe (Weird Al), Evan Rachel Wood (Madonna), and Weird Al himself (joining virtually) met to talk about the film and how it’s the REAL story of Weird Al according to everyone there. No matter what the question was, everyone stressed that the only way that this movie was going to be made was if it was authentic and actually based on Weird Al’s life. The film would stay true to the meteoric rise of Weird Al, while also parodying the recent trend of biopics on musicians like Bohemian Rhapsody, Rocketman, and Elvis among many others.
The crew wanted to lampoon biopic tropes, but they ultimately came down on trying to find a balance between the cold hard facts and the familiar beats you would find in a Hollywood biopic. Al said, “biopics tend to play fast and loose with the facts, so that was the jumping-off point for this. We wanted to play with those tropes.” It was with this in mind that Yankovic, who was heavily involved in the production and was present on set for its miraculous 18-day shoot, wanted Daniel Radcliffe in the role since he felt that he could give it the gravitas of an Oscar film in the dramatic moments, but could also play the comedic scenes well.
Originally, the film was just a joke. Funny Or Die released a parody teaser trailer lampooning the biopic genre, but Appel, who directed the short as well, and Al got a lot of fans asking them where they could find this movie that didn’t actually exist. In 2019, Yankovic got in touch with Appel and said that they should actually make the movie, especially since it was only a few months ago at the time that Bohemian Rhapsody left a huge impact on audiences and they saw a clear demand for movies about musicians. After talking about how rapid the production was, including Radcliffe learning how to play the accordion from a friend, it was time to show off a new clip from the film.
The clip featured Jack Black as Wolfman Jack, a music producer at a party by Dr. Demento (Riann Wilson) alongside other absurd and weird 70s and 80s icons like Pee Wee Herman, Andy Warhol, Gallagher, John Deacon of Queen, and Divine among many others. Jack demands Al come up with a parody song on the spot and inevitably came up with “Another Rides the Bus,” featuring all of the weird artists and performers playing alongside of Al’s accordion. Jack calls it the most beautiful thing he ever heard in his life. It definitely was.
The audience was laughing throughout and it can be said that the film is almost certainly going to be a riot. The cast then said that the scene came from the first third of the film and that it was considered one of the more normal scenes. They claimed that the film flies off the rails towards the end and becomes absolutely psychotic. If that was considered normal, then hell hath no fury for what the rest of this film may have in store for us. When in doubt, at least we’ll have new master recordings of some of Al’s biggest hits, as Al rerecorded many of his songs in crisper quality to come out of Daniel Radcliffe’s mouth.
Weird: The Al Yankovic Story will release on November 4, 2022, exclusively on Roku.