Daniel Radcliffe to play Weird Al Yankovic in new biopic

Special for Infobae of The New York Times.

For years, actors have challenged themselves by disappearing to play famous musicians. For example, Joaquin Phoenix as Johnny Cash, Don Cheadle as Miles Davis or Jennifer Lopez as Selena.

To that list, streaming service Roku adds an unconventional mix. Daniel Radcliffe, who has explored new territory after growing up as Harry Potter in eight films, will star in a biopic of one of the strangest and most popular musicians of all time: Weird Al Yankovic.

Weird Al, whose real name is Alfred Matthew Yankovic, said in a statement that he had promised fans “to release a great movie every 33 years, on time.” His last film, “UHF,” a box office flop that became a cult classic, was released in 1989.

“I am very pleased to say that we are moving forward on schedule,” he said.

Production on the film, which will be available exclusively on the Roku channel, will begin in Los Angeles in early February. A premiere date has not been announced.

The film is Roku’s latest effort to grow its original streaming content and attract new viewers, as it competes with other streaming giants like Netflix and Hulu, which often fund movies to air exclusively. on their platforms.

Roku is often associated with its popular line of devices that allow subscribers to stream to their televisions. The Roku Channel, introduced in 2017, is free on those devices but is also available on Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, Chromecast and other platforms.

The film will be produced by Tango and Funny Or Die, which created a spoof of the Weird Al biopic in 2013. Aaron Paul of “Breaking Bad” played the mustached accordion-playing parodist.

This time, however, the star playing Yankovic, 62, will be Radcliffe, 32, who has pursued very different roles than boy wizard Harry Potter.

In the 2016 fantasy comedy “A Corpse to Survive,” he played a man who, as the title suggests, can perform multiple bizarre tasks as a corpse, from passing flatulence to running his body like a jet ski on water.

Weird Al’s film, titled “Weird: The Al Yankovic Story,” will explore “every facet of Yankovic’s life,” from his beginnings as a shy and nerdy teenager to his “torrid celebrity relationships and famous lifestyle.” depraved,” according to a statement from Roku.

Yankovic’s enduring appeal over four decades has made him one of the music industry’s most successful and bizarre artists in living memory. He is one of only five artists to have had a single in the top 40 hits in each of the last four decades. (The others are Michael Jackson and Madonna, the subject of some of his earliest and most enduring parodies.)

Offstage he’s a quiet, reserved man, but he has delighted fans with absurd and bombastic covers of hit songs like “Eat It,” a twist on Jackson’s “Beat It,” and “Party in The CIA.” , a parody of “Party in The USA” by Miley Cyrus.

He bonds with fans who share his sense of humor. Just a month ago, he posted a photo on Instagram in which a newspaper appeared with the headline “Accordionist dismembered a friend who criticized his melodies”.

In a statement, Yankovic said he was “absolutely delighted to be cast by Daniel Radcliffe” in the film.

“I have no doubt that this is the role that future generations will remember him for,” he said.

After the announcement of the film, on Tuesday morning, there were already many conversations on social networks. Some said it had the potential to bring America together. Others described the news as “sexy” and the “news of 2022 that we needed”. One person demanded that the film be six hours long.

Colin Davis, Roku’s head of original script planning, said in a statement that “clearly There aren’t enough biopics about famous musicians and we were excited to reveal more about the incredibly true and not at all exaggerated” story of Weird Al.

The script was written by Yankovic and Eric Appel, who is also directing the film and is an executive producer on the project.

When Yankovic sat him down “against his will” and proceeded to tell him his life story, Appel said, “I didn’t believe any of it, but I knew we had to make a movie about it.”

Appel directed the Roku Channel TV action series “Die Hart,” starring comedian Kevin Hart.

In a 2020 New York Times Magazine article, Yankovic said he was often ignored and bullied as a child and looked to music and comedy for comfort.

A friend of his recalled how, after performing to a crowd early in his career, his face “shone like the Chernobyl reactor when it blew up.”


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