A cameo can be the ultimate wink and a nod if done right. Legacy cast members can appear in reboots, actors can mock themselves in fictionalized versions of their personas, or in the case of the new movie release Weird: The Al Yankovic Story, original Al actor Aaron Paul can pop up to connect the past to the present.
At least, that’s what was supposed to happen, as a last minute roadblock forced the Westworld star to bail. As we previously reported, Aaron Paul was supposed to make a cameo, in a nod to his participation in the original Funny or Die short. However, COVID-19 had other plans, forcing him to bow out at the last moment.
Recalling this fact to co-writer/director Eric Appel, I asked him what role Weird: The Al Yankovic Story’s original Al would have played, if all had gone as planned with the Roku (opens in new tab) original. Appel revealed that mystery role to CinemaBlend with the following details:
Having Aaron Paul heckling Daniel Radcliffe in that Weird bar scene is just the sort of meta-humor you’d expect. “Previous actor heckles new actor” is a trick that’s pretty ingrained in the cameo rulebook, and this is a standard example of why. That being said, this moment could have eventually given over to sweetness, as that biker heckler eventually respects and approves of Al’s performance as it progresses.
So who ended up taking this spot on the Weird: The Al Yankovic Story arc? None other than famed comedian/I Love My Dad star Patton Oswalt, which technically still serves those twin purposes mentioned above. For those of you keeping score at home, Patton Oswalt played the original Doctor Demento in the shorter version of Eric Appel’s Weird concept, alongside Aaron Paul’s Al and Olivia Wilde’s Madonna.
With that role going to Rainn Wilson in the Roku Channel original film, it was still fantastic to see Oswalt still taking part in the madness that was covered in the trailer for this Daniel Radcliffe-led faux biopic. It’s even funnier when you consider the fact that Oswalt’s heckler is part of the scene where Wilson’s Demento “discovers” Al.
With its tongue firmly planted in its cheek and Aaron Paul sadly sidelined for the moment, Weird: The Al Yankovic Story still got its moment of heckle-ception. Sometimes not even COVID can stop a good joke, and some of the critical responses to Weird would agree.
Everyone who wants to get on the Weird: The Al Yankovic Story bandwagon doesn’t have to do much. All you have to do is pull up the Roku Channel and select the movie, put your face right up against the screen and soak up all of the Al you can hand-al. Those looking for seconds can also watch UHF on the platform’s library, and the best part is it’s absolutely free.
CinemaBlend's James Bond (expert). Also versed in Large Scale Aggressors, time travel, and Guillermo del Toro. He fights for The User.
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