A Breaking Bad Star Almost Starred In The Weird Al Movie
Breaking Bad star Aaron Paul was originally going to play Weird Al Yankovic in the new semi-autobiographical film of his life.
Weird: The Al Yankovic Story is now available to stream through Roku, but the film you see is very different from the one that was originally conceived. The film itself began as a parody trailer for the YouTube channel Funny or Die in 2013 (featured above), complete with a star-studded cast in the various roles. The video proved to be so popular that work began on making it an actual film, which is now a feature-length movie with Harry Potter star Daniel Radcliffe in the lead role, although the film was supposed to star the actor who played Weird Al in the 2013 parody trailer: Breaking Bad star Aaron Paul.
In a new interview with Wired, Weird Al discussed how the movie evolved from the 2013 parody trailer to the feature-length, not-quite-factual account of his life, including the casting. Originally, Yankovic and director Eric Appel (who also directed the parody trailer) wanted Aaron Paul to reprise his role as Weird Al, but the actor wasn’t really interested at the time. “He was more focused on dramatic work, but he was kind enough to agree to do a cameo in the movie,” Yankovic said.
The “dramatic work” Aaron Paul was involved in included a just-finished run on HBO’s Westworld as Caleb Nichols, as the series was only recently abruptly canceled before production on a fifth season could begin. He also recently appeared in the AMC+sci-fi thriller Dual with Karen Gillan (Guardians of the Galaxy), as he appears to reestablish himself outside of his Jesse Pinkman character.
Unfortunately, even his cameo appearance in the film fell through, thanks to a nasty case of Covid-19. “Paul showed up to the set and he tested positive for Covid. He was our one Covid casualty. He got sent home, and he told me he was the sickest he’d ever been in his life for the next 10 days.”
Paul was supposed to cameo early in the film, as a heckler in the biker bar where Weird Al is trying to get his singing career started. Paul was replaced by Patton Oswalt, who appeared in the original parody trailer as radio personality Dr. Demento (a character played by Rainn Wilson in the new film).
Sharp-eyed Breaking Bad fans may notice another actor from the series in the original parody trailer. Matt Jones, who had a memorable role as Badger, Jesse Pinkman’s meth-addicted friend, appears in the trailer as Weird Al’s friend.
Among the other tidbits revealed in the article was a revelation involving Madonna. While most people assumed the film’s depiction that Weird Al had a hot-and-heavy affair with the Material Girl was tongue-in-cheek, Yankovic revealed that he isn’t even an acquaintance with Madonna, and only met her once after all these years. She is reportedly not a fan of his “Like a Surgeon” parody of her music, which may be why Yankovic seems so intent on fabricating an on-screen relationship with her.
Olivia Wilde played Madonna in the original parody trailer, but was replaced by Evan Rachel Wood (Westworld) in the film.
Weird: The Al Yankovic Story is currently streaming on Roku.