Roku Sets ‘Weird Al’ Yankovic Biopic Starring Daniel Radcliffe
Funny Or Die and Tago to start production in February
Roku said it is adding to its collection of original programming with a comedy biopic about “Weird Al” Yankovic starring Daniel Radcliffe as the off-beat musician.
Weird: The Weird Al Yankovic Story is being produced by Funny or Die and Tango and that filming will start in Los Angeles in Early January.
“There clearly aren't enough biopic movies about famous musicians and we were excited to shine a light on the incredibly true, unexaggerated story of Weird Al,” said Colin Davis, Roku’s head of original scripted programming. “This is sincerely the ultimate combination of talent, creativity, and friends, coming together to make something genuinely funny and we could not be prouder to call this film a Roku Original.”
Roku has been ramping up original programming as a way to bolster its streaming platform. It bought the high-profile programming created for the ill-fated streaming platform Quibi and the company that produces This Old House. Roku refuses to release viewership numbers but claims its originals are among the most-watched content on its platform.
Also: Roku Torpedoed by Yet Another Equity Analyst, Says Streaming Company Is Done Growing in the U.S.
Yankovic has made a long-running, award-winning career out of spoofing popular songs and artists. Roku says the biopic holds nothing back, exploring every facet of Yankovic’s life, from his meteoric rise to fame with early hits like Eat It and Like a Surgeon to his torrid celebrity love affairs and famously depraved lifestyle. He also plays the accordion.
“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,” said Yankovic. “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.”
Weird: The Weird Al Yankovic Story is written by Al Yankovic and Eric Appel. Eric Appel will also direct the film and is an executive producer. The film is produced by Funny Or Die and Tango. Al Yankovic produces, along with Mike Farah, Joe Farrell and Whitney Hodack for Funny Or Die, and Tim Headington, Lia Buman and Max Silva for Tango. Funny Or Die's Henry Muñoz III and Tango's Neil Shah are executive producers.
“When Weird Al first sat me down against my will and told me his life story, I didn’t believe any of it, but I knew that we had to make a movie about it,” Appel said.
Roku has worked closely in the past with Funny or Die. Funny or Die produces Roku Recommends, working with Roku’s branded content team, some of whom were previously with Funny or Die.
“I am excited that my first project as the owner of Funny Or Die Studios is to help bring the story of ‘Weird Al’ Yankovic to the screen. Weird Al is a comic genius and his impact on pop culture, his mastery of the music video, his award-winning music and his incredible life are a perfect fit for the talented producers at FOD,” said Henry Muñoz III, Funny Or Die Chairman and executive producer. "We are honored to partner with Roku, Tango and our director Eric Appel on this important movie. Weird has brought together a weird and wonderful team of creative people, to tell the story of a man who has made people laugh and sing across the world.” ■
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Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.