Harry Potter Vet Daniel Radcliffe Set To Play Another Bespectacled Pop Culture Icon: Weird Al Yankovic

Considering it's only January still, there are no reasons to believe that April Fool's Day has anything to do with the news being bandied about here, but know this: Harry Potter franchise vet Daniel Radcliffe has signed on for a streaming biopic that will dig into the fantastical life and career of Grammy-winning musician and occasional TV star "Weird Al" Yankovic. I feel like I've been waiting my whole life to make such a declaration, and that time has finally come.

WEIRD: The Al Yankovic Story, as the new feature film is titled, will be a Roku Channel original project, with Funny or Die and Tango set as the production companies. So that should tip fans off that we probably shouldn’t expect anything as Oscar-grabby as some of the biggest music-driven biopics of recent years, such as Bohemian Rhapsody and Rocket Man. But that only makes it better in my eyes, as the story sounds as if it will stray beyond the boundaries of reality and historical record. (Perhaps somewhat like the Whiplash parody he took part in some years back.)

The new project will star Daniel Radcliffe as “Weird Al" Yankovic throughout his long and illustrious career, starting with the early days during his rise to fame in the late 1970s and early 1980s, with parodies of major hits from artists like Madonna, Michael Jackson and Joan Jett, to name but a few. The project will also dig Yankovic’s “torrid celebrity love affairs” and his “famously depraved lifestyle,” with the announcement calling him both a child prodigy and the “greatest musical legend of all time.” It’s almost as if I wrote the copy myself.

Here’s what “Weird Al" Yankovic himself had to say about the news:

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. I have no doubt whatsoever that this is the role future generations will remember him for.

While we may never get a sequel to the bonkers 1989 feature U/H/F, I am putting hopes beyond hopes that WEIRD: The Al Yankovic Story will be allowed to feature scenes or moments from that film, possibly with Fran Drescher returning to reprise her role as if nothing were amiss regarding age and time. I also hope the Roku project is able to secure the rights to many tracks from Weird Al's long and glorious career, although there would be a certain amount of glee to be had if the biopic could only use terrible soundalikes. 

There's a decent shot at such rights issues being worked out, as "Weird Al" Yankovic himself co-wrote the feature alongside director Eric Appel. Fans might remember over a decade ago when Funny or Die released a melodramatic Weird Al biopic teaser hinting at such events being expanded upon in the future, with Appel having also written and directed that. And that future is now, although without Aaron Paul behind the mustache.

Daniel Radcliffe most recently appeared in HBO Max’s long-awaited and much-appreciated special Harry Potter 20th Anniversary: Return to Hogwarts, and will presumably be back to head up another season of the era-jumping comedy Miracle Workers. But he should be busy in early February, as that’s when WEIRD: The Al Yankovic Story is set to go into production in Los Angeles.

While waiting to hear more news about the upcoming biopic, head to our 2022 TV premiere schedule to see what new and returning shows are on the way!

Nick Venable
Assistant Managing Editor

Nick is a Cajun Country native, and is often asked why he doesn't sound like that's the case. His love for his wife and daughters is almost equaled by his love of gasp-for-breath laughter and gasp-for-breath horror. A lifetime spent in the vicinity of a television screen led to his current dream job, as well as his knowledge of too many TV themes and ad jingles.