For as popular as the Harry Potter franchise had become, it had never become the target of a “Weird Al” Yankovic parody, but it turns out there’s a reason for that. Legally, Yankovic does not need to get permission from those he spoofs as his material is protected by parody law, but even so, the famed parodist would still usually seek their blessings. He’ll avoid the parody if anyone is unhappy with it as a professional courtesy.
Ahead of the premiere of his Roku biopic WEIRD: The Al Yankovic Story, Yankovic spoke about the film in an interview with THR. In the movie, Yankovic is played by Harry Potter star Daniel Radcliffe. As it turns out, that reminds Yankovic of when he wanted to do some kind of parody about Harry Potter a while back, going so far as to approach Warner Bros. to get their permission. He ultimately abandoned the parody when he didn’t get the studio’s blessing, though he says the incident also taught him a valuable lesson.
“I don’t think I ever mentioned this but whenever it was, like a decade or two ago, I think I approached – was it Warner Bros. that put out that movie? I approached the movie company just to get a general blessing. Like, ‘Hey, I’d like to do a Harry Potter parody.’ And I think they said ‘No,’ or they never responded or whatever. But it was sort of like, sometimes when you’re dealing with franchises, and you ask permission, there are so many people that can say ‘No.’ And they usually do. So, I kind of learned my lesson there that if I’m doing a franchise, it’s usually better just to do it, and ask for forgiveness rather than permission.”
Harry Potter Star Daniel Radcliffe Spoofs “Weird Al”
It all comes back around to Daniel Radcliffe satirizing “Weird Al” Yankovic for the new film WEIRD: The Al Yankovic Story. The film is not quite an accurate representation of Yankovic’s background, spoofing musician biopics by imagining the “Eat It” singer as living a much harder lifestyle. The film, directed by Eric Appel and co-written by Yankovic and Appel, also stars Evan Rachel Wood, Rainn Wilson, Toby Huss, Julianne Nicholson, and Quinta Brunson.
“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,” Yankovic said in a statement when the film was announced. “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.”
WEIRD: The Al Yankovic Story will be released on The Roku Channel for streaming on Nov. 4, 2022. You can check out the official trailer for the film below.