When Eric Appel was shooting his new movie Weird: The Al Yankovic Story — which is essentially the Weird Al version of a music biopic (read: it’s not entirely based in fact) — he didn’t have to deal with just one Weird Al on set. He had two.
Daniel Radcliffe plays the iconic Weird Al in the movie, while Weird Al himself plays record executive Tony Scotti.
“One of the most bizarre Weird Al moments was directing a scene where Daniel Radcliffe is playing Weird Al and Weird Al is playing record executive Tony Scotti and having to direct that, and walking on the set and saying, ‘Hey, Al, I have a note,'” and then two people look up at me,” Appel told MovieMaker at the Newport Beach Film Festival, where Weird: The Al Yankovic Story was the opening night film.
“I’m like, ‘Oh, no, Al — uh, Al Senior,'” Appel laughed. “In editing, we had to come up with Al Jr. and Al Sr.”
To make matters even more confusing, Radcliffe lip-synchs to Weird Al’s voice during all the movie’s musical numbers, including “My Bologna” and “Like a Surgeon.”
Speaking of “My Bologna,” Eric Appel has a funny story about the scene, shown in the trailer, where Weird Al spontaneously writes the lyrics for the parody version of The Knack’s “My Sharona.” The scene was inspired by one classic trope in music biopics.
“Every musical biopic has the moment where the artist comes up with their first hit song — like, lightning hits them and they come up with a fully formed song within 30 seconds,” Appel said. “My favorite example is in Ray when he plays ‘Hit The Road Jack’ for the first time, and someone yells at him, ‘Hit the road, Jack!’ And he’s like, ‘Wait, say that again?’ And then it’s him playing a fully formed “Hit The Road Jack.’ We’re like, ‘We have to have this in our movie,’ which is where the ‘My Bologna’ scene came from.”
The scene in question finds Weird Al making bologna sandwiches for his roommates when “My Sharona” comes on the radio, and suddenly, inspiration hits.
Weird: The Al Yankovic Story will begin streaming on The Roku Channel on Nov. 4.
Main Image: Danielle Radcliffe as Weird Al in the Weird: The Al Yankovic Story