Weird The Al Yankovic Story: Is the Movie Based on Real Life?

‘Weird: The Al Yankovic Story’ is a satirical drama film that explores the life of the creative visionary as he rose to fame after rewriting songs for humor. The movie stars Daniel Radcliffe in the lead, along with Evan Rachel Wood, Rainn Wilson, Toby Huss, and a much-anticipated cameo by the singer himself. Directed by Eric Appel, the movie features Al’s excessive journey from a traditional childhood to being discovered by Dr. Demento and ultimately fulfilling his dreams. But not all biopics are true to life. Let’s figure out how true Weird Al’s biopic is!

The Origin of Weird: The Al Yankovic Story

‘Weird: The Al Yankovic Story’ loosely draws from the life and career of Alfred Matthew Yankovic AKA Weird Al, but it is not a true story. After the success of a hilarious fake trailer released by Funny or Die in 2010, director Eric Appel and Weird Al came together to create this outrageously exaggerated version of the comic singer’s biopic. As confirmed by the man himself, almost nothing in the movie is portrayed as it was in reality. In a conversation with TV Insider, Weird Al shared that he “went off the rails” while creating his own biopic and wanted to present a satire on the genre.

Image Credit: Alyankovic/YouTube

Contrary to being a biopic, the movie fabricates various aspects of a biographical drama film for a comical effect. Over the years, a lot of musical biopics have taken the creative liberty to rewrite facts and show a bunch of cliches in the life of every musical star. From descent into drugs, alcohol, and sex to becoming the ambitious, lonesome alpha in the band, the movie pokes fun at every arc. The director and Weird Al wanted to create an over-the-top movie of mockery, just like the latter does with his songs.

Having said that, the element that’s true to the life of Yankovic is the music. The songs in the movie are all real and sung by Weird Al himself. Radcliffe took accordion lessons from Yankovic to fully get into character. The accordion is the instrument that introduced Weird Al to the world of music. “I got lent Al’s accordion for the month,” he said on ‘The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.’ “He gave me his own accordion to practice on for the month. On day two of that, I broke one of the straps … and then immediately got them replaced. Thankfully, he’s like the nicest guy.”

Weird: The Al Yankovic Story (2022) - IMDb

In the film, several facts are the opposite of what actually happened. For instance, Weird Al’s parents were reportedly never against his love for music or that he wanted to play the accordion. His parents, especially his father, encouraged him to do what he loved and appreciated his talent for the instrument. In his book, ‘When I Grow Up,’ the singer wrote, “As my father used to tell me, the only true sign of success in life is being able to do for a living that which makes you happy.” The aspect of having a disapproving father is another way to spoof the biopics that make a distant/neglecting parent the villain to the hero.

Even the way Weird Al came up with the “My Bologna” song lyrics is theorized. He didn’t stumble across those lyrics in his mind paradise by chance. The lyrics were the product of hard work and hours of brainstorming sessions with his mates. The Eureka moment for “My Bologna” is exaggerated and takes inspiration from the songs “We Will Rock You” and “Another One Bites the Dust” in ‘Bohemian Rhapsody.’ Talking about the trope, Daniel told Uproxx, “…just the entire song being written in a moment because of hearing a literal lyric from the song be said to you is, yeah, just glorious. I love that so much.”

The life of the singer is exaggerated to a higher degree. Even the romance shown in the movie between the singer and Madonna did not exist. It’s believed that he has not even met Madonna in real life. This means that the romance bringing downfall to the singer in the movie is entirely fictionalized. The makers worked off of an imaginary scenario showing what could have happened if they actually dated. The only true fact in this whole debacle is Al making a parody of Madonna’s “Like A Version” track.

Weird: The Al Yankovic Story (2022) - IMDb

As the tagline of ‘Weird: The Al Yankovic Story’ suggests, the world does belong to the weird. Consequently, the singer connected with the public and eventually his fans over his weirdness and goofiness. He is hailed as a genius in the movie for just rewriting songs with a witty touch. The absurd comedy is to be taken with not just a grain of salt but a bucket full of salt. A biopic only fictionalizes some elements to maintain the tonality of the movie. But this effervescent feature has only a handful of true elements paired with a wide range of over-exaggerated sequences.

Read More: Where Was Weird: The Al Yankovic Story Filmed?