Harry Potter star Daniel Radcliffe has signed on to play Weird Al Yankovic in a biopic about the song parody titan, which is set to begin shooting in Los Angeles early next month.
So… I’m making a movie.
— Al Yankovic (@alyankovic) January 18, 2022
Yankovic co-wrote the screenplay with “Funny or Die” veteran Eric Appel, who will direct the hotly-anticipated film, and who helmed a short by the same name for the production company in 2010, Deadline reports. It will stream exclusively on The Roku Channel.
“When Weird Al first sat me down against my will and told me his life story, I didn’t believe any of it,” Appel said in a statement Tuesday, “but I knew that we had to make a movie about it.”
Although Yankovic’s last feature, 1989’s UHF, has gained cult status and some critical appreciation in the fullness of time, it was widely misunderstood upon its release.
“Somewhere there is an audience for ‘UHF,’ I have no doubt,” Roger Ebert predicted in his one-star review, “and somewhere this weekend someone may laugh at some of its attempts at humor.”
Yankovic is betting that the second time’s a charm.
“When my last movie UHF came out in 1989, I made a solemn vow to my fans that I would release a major motion picture every 33 years, like clockwork,” he says. “I’m very happy to say we’re on schedule. And I am absolutely thrilled that Daniel Radcliffe will be portraying me in the film. I have no doubt whatsoever that this is the role future generations will remember him for.”
Little is known regarding how much of Yankovic’s private life will be revealed. For instance, it’s unclear if the pic will delve into the five-time Grammy-winner’s dark, early days with Dr. Demento, or his appearance on the 2003 episode of The Simpsons, “Three Gays of the Condo,” several seasons after the series began to die.
Yankovic’s musical spoofs have won fans in every decade since he first busted out his accordion, beginning with such 80s classics as “Eat It” and “My Bologna”—along with deeper cuts like 1984’s “Mr. Popeil”—to 1992’s “Smells Like Nirvana.” His 21st century hits include “Weasel Stomping Day” (2006), while his 2014 album Mandatory Fun was the first comedy album ever to debut at #1 on Billboard’s Top 200.
It’s also said that Kurt Cobain called Weird Al a genius in his diary.
Radcliffe has considerable comedy chops himself. Aside from being a three-time Simpsons alum, he currently stars on TBS’s Miracle Workers and had a stellar cameo appearance on an episode of Extras in which he struggled to lose his virginity.
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