Director of Weird Al Movie Promises He Did Zero Research on Weird Al
Weird: The Al Yankovic Story has hit the film festival circuit ahead of its upcoming streaming release on the Roku Channel on November 4th, and the parody film about a parody legend already has the internet buzzing over the Funny or Die sketch-turned-feature film.
The film’s director, Eric Appel, spoke to MovieMaker following the movie’s screening at the Newport Beach Film Festival. Appel promised fans of the world’s most prolific parodist that Weird: The Al Yankovic Story will be as untruthful to the artist’s life as possible — Appel swore that he did “absolutely no research on Al’s actual life,” and that the film will not follow the events of Weird Al’s upbringing with any degree of honesty or respect for Al’s story.
Get ready to see Weird Al as he never was.
Weird: The Al Yankovic Story started in 2013 as a satirical sketch on Funny or Die, which skewered the self-serious nature of the popular music biopics that regularly attempt to mine Oscar gold from highly dramatized versions of a superstar’s life story. Breaking Bad star Aaron Paul played a tortured alcoholic version of Al, with appearances from big names like Olivia Wilde, who played Al’s girlfriend Madonna, and Mary Steenburgen as Al’s remorseful mother who always knew that her son was growing up “weird.”
Al would play the fake trailer before concerts, which prompted fans to ask him questions of when the full movie would be released. Explained Appel, “After a decade of people coming up to him after concerts and saying, ‘How can I see this biopic?’ it sort of started wearing on him.” Al eventually acquiesced, and Weird: The Al Yankovic Story was finally greenlit.
Following the success of recent films like Bohemian Rhapsody, Rocketman and Elvis, Appel sees Weird as a play on the vainglorious biopic genre in which directors mythologize the source material past the point of resembling the real-life stories and end up making the same movie we’ve all seen a thousand times. “It was basically us taking like all of our favorite tropes from biopics and just — it’s really satirizing the entire biopic genre,” Appel said. “They all sort of follow the same storytelling template, and it was us kind of deconstructing that and then putting it back together in the most weird, surprising way.”
A parody music biopic about the most beloved parody musician is the only way we would ever want Al’s story to be told — sure, we’d love to hear about how Yankovic’s parents were visited by a door-to-door salesman who offered them the choice between an accordion or a guitar for their son’s seventh birthday, but we’d much rather watch a teenage Al get arrested for performing at a polka party and hide accordion magazines in his schoolbooks. Nothing gets our blood pumping more than Daniel Radcliffe staring into the camera and saying, “All my life, all I wanted is to make up new words to songs that already exist.”
Al himself will make an appearance in the film as record producer Tony Scotti, and stars such as Will Forte, Rainn Wilson and Evan Rachel Wood appear alongside Radcliffe.
Our fingers are crossed that Weird: The Al Yankovic Story will join the criminally underrated Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story among the ranks of the greatest music biopics ever made, satirical or otherwise — but to do that it'll have to
saw in half quarter his brother.
Who cares if he really has one?