It takes 10,000 hours of intense practice to achieve perfect mastery of any skill, or so the saying goes. Well, how about to perfect parody? Apparently, only 18 days (432 short hours, give or take) if you’re the king of parody himself, “Weird Al” Yankovic, and that’s all the time the studio gives you to film your magnum opus, a parody of music biopics simultaneously parodying the events of your own life. But god, does this movie look perfect.
Yankovic—who was referred to as “Real Al” on set—spoke about the film’s truncated production schedule and more with its star, Daniel Radcliffe—confusingly (weirdly?) dubbed “Weird Al” by the set crew—in a recent interview with the New York Times.
“The Covid of it all was terrifying, especially for me and [director] Eric [Appel],” Radcliffe said. “There is no Plan B. We just have to not get sick.”
This do-or-die pace led to a major last-minute casting change (due to a broken foot, comedian Patton Oswalt was swapped for The Office’s Rainn Wilson in the role of Dr. Demento at the eleventh hour) and to Radcliffe getting very ripped, very fast. Apparently, the actor, who has both played a farting corpse and stripped nude on a Broadway stage, was shirtless in the role of Yankovic more than anything else he has ever done. Weird!
Yankovic (the real one) also revealed that major stars such as Oprah Winfrey (played by Abbott Elementary’s Quinta Brunson) and Madonna (played as Yankovic’s temptress girlfriend by Westworld’s Evan Rachel Wood) did not have to sign off on the—we’ll say liberal—treatment of their personas in the film. “I’m amazed the lawyers let us get away with this movie, frankly,” he said. “But they’re like, Oh, yeah, all public figures–go for it.”
All things considered, Yankovic really just set out to do what he does best: create a damn good parody. “I hope this confuses a lot of people,” he said. “We want to lead them down a path and think, Is this a real biopic? Is this the real story? The movie starts out pretty normal. Then it progressively goes way off the rails.” And in an age where it seems that Hollywood is more obsessed with biopics than ever, maybe we all just need to take a deep breath and watch the master at work.
Weird: The Al Yankovic Story will be available to stream on Roku Friday, November 4.