“Weird” Al Yankovic doesn’t only do parodies, but parodies are what he’s best known for. None of them, though, are mean-spirited. He’s a nice guy, and he tends to ask permission first. Sometimes they say no. Eminem turned him down. Sir Paul McCartney wouldn’t let him record “Chicken Pot Pie” (his take on “Live and Let Die,” of course) because he’s vegan. So did Prince, over and over. And when he tried to send up Harry Potter, he was either shut down or simply ignored.
During a chat with The Hollywood Reporter for the new anti-biopic, Weird: The Al Yankovic Story, the musician recalled the time he reached out to Warner Bros. to get the green light for taking on lit’s most popular boy wizard.
“Whenever it was, about a decade or two ago, 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,” Yankovic recalled. “But sometimes when you’re dealing with franchises, and you ask permission, you know, there’s so many people that can say no, and they usually do.”
At least it taught Yankovic something that might keep him from lawsuits. “If I’m doing a franchise, it’s usually better just to do it and ask for forgiveness rather than permission,” he said.
But life can be funny, and eventually he got something even better than a Harry Potter parody: Years later, he was played on screen by Potter himself, Daniel Radcliffe. The led him to joke that, in a way, Weird is “the last movie of the Harry Potter franchise.”
Radcliffe himself has joked about Weird being part of the franchise. “Maybe that’s what this film is,” Radcliffe joked to THR in a separate interview. “This has been his way of doing a Harry Potter parody.”
Anyway, at least Kurt Cobain gave him the okay.
Weird: The Al Yankovic Story now streams on Roku.