Weird: The Al Yankovic Story–Daniel Radcliffe in Goofy Mode

Nonstop Laughter for Manic Weird Al Biopic at Toronto Film Fest

Daniel Radcliffe Weird The Al Yankovic
The Roku Channel / Courtesy Everett Collection

“The world belongs to the weird.” So says the tagline for Weird: The Al Yankovic Story, but it belonged to Daniel Radcliffe as the comedy made its world premiere at midnight at the Toronto Film Festival.
Radcliffe stars as the beloved parody musician in the upcoming Roku original film, which made its world premiere at the Royal Alexandra Theatre, kicking off TIFF’s Midnight Madness section.

It was a full house at the theater and the crowd ate up every second of the parody biopic, cheering loudly for every surprise cameo (of which there were many) at the first “backstory” behind Yankovic’s biggest hits from “My Bologna” to “Eat It.” Some of the most raucous applause was saved for the Radcliffe-fronted rendition of “Amish Paradise.”

Yankovic, Appel, Radcliffe and Wood took the stage after the screening to face the audience and answer their pressing Weird Al questions.

How did Radcliffe learn to play Yankovic’s iconic accordion?

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The actor studied the complicated instrument with a teacher and even took a few lessons with the parody master himself. “Al sent me some accordion lessons over email,” Radcliffe said. “And, you know, I did what I could. It’s a very hard instrument. He makes it look very easy… it was fun to try it.”

“I got to be in the trailer next to his while he practiced,” Wood joked.

“It was probably roughly about a month between me learning the verse of ‘My Bologna’ and the chorus, so my girlfriend was living in perpetual hellscape,” Radcliffe said.

Learning that famous parody of “My Sharona” proved important as “My Bologna” was the first scene Radcliffe had to perform in front of Yankovic on the accordion — a process Radcliffe described as “nerve-racking.”

The feature version includes Evan Rachel Wood as Madonna — who embarks on a torrid love affair with the accordion player — with Toby Huss and Julianne Nicholson play the “Eat It” and “White & Nerdy” singer’s parents. Rainn Wilson plays radio broadcaster Dr. Demento, who helped bring Yankovic to the mainstream by playing his music on his show, while Quinta Brunson makes an appearance as Oprah Winfrey.

Radcliffe’s first appearance on screen was received with rapture and screams, a ringing sensation that lasted until the credits rolled.

Ti West’s “X” prequel “Pearl” makes its American premiere in the lineup, which closes with the Canadian premiere of Lenore Will Never Die, from Filipina filmmaker Martika Ramierez Escobar.