Daniel Radcliffe (The Lost City, Harry Potter franchise) has been tapped to play musician “Weird Al” Yankovic in Weird: The Al Yankovic Story, a Roku Original biopic from Funny or Die and Tango that will be available for streaming exclusively on The Roku Channel.
Yankovic and Eric Appel penned the feature, with the latter Funny or Die alum set to direct, after helming a short film of the same name for the production company back in 2010. Production will kick off in Los Angeles early next month.
Known for pastiching and parodying the works of his musical contemporaries, Yankovic is the biggest-selling comedy recording artist of all time. A five-time Grammy winner, his 2014 release Mandatory Fun was the first comedy album in history to debut at No. 1 on Billboard’s Top 200.
The Yankovic biopic promises to hold nothing back and explore every facet of his life, from his childhood through his meteoric rise to fame with early hits like “Eat It” and “Like a Surgeon,” while touching on his torrid celebrity love affairs and famously depraved lifestyle. Yankovic is producing alongside Mike Farah, Joe Farrell and Whitney Hodack for Funny Or Die, and Tim Headington, Lia Buman and Max Silva for Tango. Appel is exec producing with Funny Or Die’s Henry Muñoz III and Tango’s Neil Shah.
“When Weird Al first sat me down against my will and told me his life story, I didn’t believe any of it,” admitted Appel, “but I knew that we had to make a movie about it.”
“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. And I am absolutely thrilled that Daniel Radcliffe will be portraying me in the film,” said Yankovic. “I have no doubt whatsoever that this is the role future generations will remember him for.”
“There clearly aren’t enough biopic movies about famous musicians and we were excited to shine a light on the incredibly true, unexaggerated story of Weird Al,” said Roku’s Head of Original Scripted Programming, Colin Davis. “This is sincerely the ultimate combination of talent, creativity, and friends, coming together to make something genuinely funny and we could not be prouder to call this film a Roku Original.”
“I am excited that my first project as the owner of Funny Or Die Studios is to help bring the story of ‘Weird Al’ Yankovic to the screen,” added Muñoz III, who serves as Funny Or Die’s Chairman and executive producer. “Weird Al is a comic genius and his impact on pop culture, his mastery of the music video, his award-winning music and his incredible life are a perfect fit for the talented producers at FOD.
“We are honored to partner with Roku, Tango and our director Eric Appel on this important movie,” said Muñoz III in closing. “WEIRD has brought together a weird and wonderful team of creative people, to tell the story of a man who has made people laugh and sing across the world.”
Yankovic has earned nearly 200 screen credits since 1983, earning a star on The Hollywood Walk of Fame in August 2018. He wrote and starred in the cult classic UHF and also notably hosted his own series, The Weird Al Show, for Dick Clark Productions and CBS back in 1997. He’s appeared as himself in everything from American Dad! to Children’s Hospital and 30 Rock, featuring more recently in Showtime’s Work in Progress, United Artists Releasing’s Bill & Ted Face the Music and the defunct Quibi platform’s revival of Reno 911!, which has now moved over to Roku.
Radcliffe is an award-winning actor best known for his turn as wizard Harry Potter in Warner Bros.’ franchise of the same name, based on the books by J.K. Rowling. He currently stars in the TBS comedy series Miracle Workers created by Simon Rich, and will next appear opposite Sandra Bullock in Paramount’s comedy The Lost City from directors Aaron and Adam Nee.
Appel is a writer, director and producer who has helmed episodes of series including Die Hart, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Son of Zorn, Silicon Valley, The Grinder, New Girl and Happy Endings. He has written on series including Pretend Time and Crank Yankers, while producing Son of Zorn and other projects.
Yankovic is represented by WME; Radcliffe by Artist Rights Group (UK) and Felker Toczek Suddleson; Appel by Artists First, CAA and Ginsburg Daniels Kallis.