Daniel Radcliffe’s Weird: The Al Yankovic Story debut on TIFF

“The world belongs to the madmen,” is the tagline for “Weird: The Al Yankovic Story,” but the early hours on Friday belonged to Daniel Radcliffe as the comedy premiered at midnight at the Toronto International Film Festival.

Radclifffe plays the popular parody musician in the upcoming Roku original film, which premiered at the Royal Alexandra Theater kicking off TIFF’s Midnight Madness program.

It was a full house at the theater and the crowd ate every second of the parody biopic and loudly cheered for each surprise appearance (of which there were many) at the first “backstory” behind Yankovic’s biggest hits from “My Bologna” to “ISS It.” ” The stormiest applause was saved for the Radcliffe frontal version of “Amish Paradise.”

“Weird” is directed by Eric Appel, who co-wrote the film with Yankovic. Produced by Funny or Die and Tango, the project tells a largely fictionalized version of how the parody artist rose to superstardom. It also marks Appel’s directorial debut, spawning from his viral 2010 video that portrayed Yankovic’s life story far more scandalously than it really was, and skewered the stereotypes of typical biopics.

Yankovic, Appel, Radcliffe and Wood took the stage after the screening to break down everything the audience had just consumed and answer their pressing Weird Al questions. So how did Radcliffe learn to play Yankovic’s legendary accordion?

Araya Doheny/Getty Images

Getty Images

The actor studied the complicated instrument with a teacher and even took a few lessons from the parody master himself. “Al emailed me some accordion lessons,” 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.”

“And I had to be next to him in the trailer while he practiced,” Wood joked.

“There was probably about a month between learning the verse of ‘My Bologna’ and the chorus, so my girlfriend lived in a perpetual hellscape,” Radcliffe continued.

Learning that the famous parody of “My Sharona” would prove important as “My Bologna” was the first scene Radcliffe had to play on accordion before Yankovic. A process that Radcliffe described as “nerve-wracking”.

The feature-length version stars Evan Rachel Wood as Madonna – who begins a torrid love affair with the accordion player – with Toby Huss and Julianne Nicholson playing the parents of the “Eat It” and “White & Nerdy” singer. Rainn Wilson plays radio station Dr. Demento, who helped bring Yankovic into the mainstream by performing his music on his show while Quinta Brunson stars as Oprah Winfrey.

It’s hard to pinpoint a specific moment that drew the most applause from the crowd, but Radcliffe’s first on-screen appearance was met with such enthusiastic applause and shouts that it caused a resounding sensation that lasted until the credits rolled.

Other Midnight Madness screenings include anthology horror film V/H/S 99, director Tim Story’s The Blackening, Vera Drew’s The People’s Joker, Kim Hongsun’s Project Wolf Hunting, Sick ‘ by John Hyams, ‘Sisu’ by Jalmari Helander and ‘Venus’ by Jaume Balagueró, all of which will premiere at the festival.

Ti West’s X prequel Pearl makes its North American premiere in the lineup that will close the Canadian premiere of Filipino filmmaker Martika Ramierez Escobar’s Lenore Will Never Die.

https://variety.com/2022/film/news/daniel-radcliffe-weird-al-yankovic-tiff-1235365707/ Daniel Radcliffe’s Weird: The Al Yankovic Story debut on TIFF

Charles Jones

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