Let it never be said that Daniel Radcliffe has not picked interesting roles in his post-Harry Potter career. From a farting corpse (pictured above) to Allen Ginsberg, he has been out there living his best actorly life. And now he’s taken the next step in his creative evolution, signing on to play “Weird” Al Yankovic in a biopic that will air only on the Roku Channel.
That’s a lot of words in an unexpected order. It took me a minute to process them.
Weird Al wrote the film with director Eric Appel (Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Die Hart), who is quite familiar with the territory. In 2013, Appel wrote and directed a fake trailer for a movie with the same title as this actual movie: Weird: The Al Yankovic Story.
The summary for the upcoming film explains:
The biopic holds nothing back, exploring every facet of Yankovic’s life, from his meteoric rise to fame with early hits like “Eat It” and “Like a Surgeon” to his torrid celebrity love affairs and famously depraved lifestyle. Weird: The Al Yankovic Story takes audiences on a truly unbelievable journey through Yankovic’s life and career, from gifted child prodigy to the greatest musical legend of all time.
Weird Al is, it must be said, a fascinating dude. If you have not read the 2020 New York Times piece on his enduring appeal, you should; it gave me a whole new appreciation for a musician who has been a background presence in my pop culture knowledge for literal decades. It also includes this lively bit of description:
Weird Al has a face designed for making faces: large nostrils, wide forehead, bendy mouth, chin like a crescent moon. His eyeballs seem somehow double-jointed, able to bulge wide or disappear into a squint. His cheekbones pop like crab apples. He uses that face to mimic music-world clichés: rock-star sneer, boy-band smolder, teen-pop grin, gangsta-rap glower.
Can Radcliffe pull this off? Absolutely he can. Like Weird Al, he at first appears unassuming and mild, but there’s a lot more going on under the surface.
In a statement, Weird Al said, “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. I’m very happy to say we’re on schedule.” He also noted, “I have no doubt whatsoever that this is the role future generations will remember [Radcliffe] for.”
There’s no word yet on when this weird masterpiece will air.