It’s been almost 15 years since Walk Hard came out, which means it’s been almost 15 years since the music biopic was made completely redundant. Despite Walk Hard mocking every trope and stereotype of the genre into permanent obsolescence, though, people keep cranking these things out, with every one feeling like an unnecessary and unintentional homage to Dewey Cox. The only way to make a music biopic that stands out today is to intentionally pay tribute to Walk Hard and go as ridiculous as possible. Based on the first full trailer, that seems to be the tack taken by Weird: The Al Yankovic Story, the upcoming Roku Channel original by Eric Appel that stars Daniel Radcliffe.
Adapted from a Funny or Die short Appel made back in 2013, Weird promises to hit all the standard genre beats. Does “Weird Al” start small and humble before finding surprise success? Of course. Is his early career guided by an important mentor who helps him learn the way of the song parody? You bet (Rainn Wilson plays Dr. Demento, hat always on head). Does Al spiral out into a drug-fueled, sex-filled oblivion, letting stardom go to his head and alienating his band? Obviously. (That last part, though, may not be especially factual, particularly Al’s torrid affair with Madonna, played by Evan Rachel Wood.) Throughout it all Radcliffe seems completely committed, with an intensity rarely seen from the real “Weird Al,” but which must lurk within anybody who can dominate the world of pop music for as long as Yankovic has.
Weird will be streaming worldwide on The Roku Channel on Nov. 4, after making its bow at the prestigious Toronto International Film Festival on Sept. 8. (It’s clearly the frontrunner.) Until then, check out the new trailer below.