“This is not a movie that we expect you to sit down and take a moral from the story,” star Daniel Radcliffe told IndieWire of the unapologetic biopic spoof. “But if there is something to it, it’s about leaning into your own weirdness and that being a way of finding your own happiness.”
Written by Appel and Weird Al himself, the semi-“true” story of Yankovic’s rise from a polka-playing outcast to a pop culture satirist selling out stadiums began as a fake trailer for FunnyOrDie.com in 2010. It starred Aaron Paul as Weird Al and featured Patton Oswalt, Olivia Wilde, and Gary Cole among others. With Radcliffe assuming the role of Al, Appel expanded the viral two-minute parody into a full film with Funny or Die and Tango producing.
“[Yankovic] is so authentically himself and that has led to this wonderful film, as well as his incredible career,” Radcliffe continued.
Streaming free on Roku November 4, the feature-length film boasts an even more star-studded cast than the original, including Rainn Wilson as radio host Dr. Demento; Evan Rachel Wood as Madonna; Quinta Brunson as Oprah Winfrey; and Toby Huss and Julianne Nicholson as Yankovic’s pearl-clutching parents, Nick and Mary.
When asked about Madonna’s reaction to the film, Wood quipped: “I don’t think she’s going to respond at all. She has other things on her mind and other things to do.”
“I love Madonna,” Wood continued. “I’ve met her before. We’ve been very friendly. So I think we’re cool. I’m hoping we’re cool. And the good news is nothing in this movie actually happened, so I’m a little safe there.”
The real Yankovic appeared in Appel’s original sketch as a nonplussed music exec and almost certainly makes a yet-to-be-disclosed cameo in the movie.
Asked what song he would write about Radcliffe if given the opportunity, Yankovic told IndieWire: “I would write a song called ‘Daniel Radcliffe is Awesome’ because he’s awesome!”
“Honestly, the thing that we worked on the most together was the accordion,” Radcliffe said of his experience working directly with Yankovic. “He gave me some accordion lessons, which is something that I can take to my grave that I had that moment. I don’t need anything else.”
“Weird: The Al Yankovic Story” opens TIFF’s annual Midnight Madness line-up, which this year will screen 10 films at the Royal Alexandra Theaters, including: the anthology film “V/H/S 99,” Ti West’s “Pearl,” Jaume Balagueró’s “Venus,” Jalmari Helander’s “Sisu,” John Hyams’ “Sick,” Kim Hongsun’s “Project Wolf Hunting,” Vera Drew’s “The People’s Joker,” Tim Story’s “The Blackening,” and Martika Ramirez Escobar’s “Leonor Will Never Die” which will close the event.
Reporting by Vincent Perella. Watch the trailer for “Weird: The Al Yankovic Story” below: