"Weird Al" Yankovic Is "Amazed" His Lawyers Let Him Get Away with 'Weird: The Al Yankovic Story'

"We want to lead them down a path and think, 'Is this a real biopic? Is this the real story?'"

BY Megan LaPierrePublished Sep 8, 2022

Happy TIFF season, everyone! The festival officially begins today, and though we've all been distracted by the delicious Don't Worry Darling drama at the Venice International Film Festival, lest we forget about Daniel Radcliffe's jacked-as-hell "Weird Al" Yankovic.

Weird: The Al Yankovic Story is sure to be a confusingly sexy highlight of this year's fest (and already one of Exclaim!'s 13 Must-See Films), but the man himself is "amazed" that his lawyers even let him do it.

Yankovic co-wrote the film's script alongside Eric Appel, who wrote and directed a tongue-in-cheek fake movie trailer starring Aaron Paul (Breaking Bad) as a hard-partying version of the parody artist in 2010, which ended up on Funny or Die and became a viral success.

Leaning on the tropes of recent hit biopics like Rocketman and Bohemian Rhapsody, they came together to pen a script where "facts are changed arbitrarily, just to change them," according to Yankovic.

In a new joint interview between the polka prodigy and Radcliffe by The New York Times, Yankovic opened up about the nature of the onscreen weirdness, and where it fits into the current trend of glossy, overblown biopics à la ELVIS.

"I hope this confuses a lot of people," the artist told the publication. "We want to lead them down a path and think, 'Is this a real biopic? Is this the real story?'"

He added: "The movie starts out pretty normal. Then it progressively goes way off the rails."

The piece went on to describe Weird: The Al Yankovic Story as "a wildly satirical, highly nonfactual telling of Yankovic's ascent," which gets expanded like an accordion with debaucherous tales of sex, drugs, rock 'n' roll — and jungle combat, apparently?

So don't expect the movie to show you the gritty truth of how hits like "My Bologna" came together. "I did record it in a bathroom but not in a bus station," Yankovic said of the Knack parody. "Why did we change it? Just 'cause that's what biopics do."

He continued: "I'm amazed the lawyers let us get away with this movie, frankly. But they're like, Oh, yeah, all public figures — go for it," including Evan Rachel Wood's portrayal of Madonna as scheming siren, putting the moves on Al with the ulterior motive of convincing him to parody one of her songs.

"There was definitely a freedom in the version of Al that is in the script," Radcliffe chimed in, sharing of the acting challenge, and adding: "And it is so insane." At this point in the interview, he reportedly turned to Yankovic and said, "You didn't murder many, many people."

"Not a lot," Yankovic replied. "Very few."

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