“Weird Al” Yankovic: I just went through my address book and emailed a bunch of people. I was looking for people who happened to be in town and available on that particular day and who were very happy to drive to Tarzana.
Did you get everyone you reached out to?
There were a few that didn’t work out exactly as I had originally intended. In the original script, in the pool party scene, it was supposed to be me being confronted by Freddie Mercury, but that was the one stipulation that the Queen estate had when we talked to them about using “Another One Rides the Bus” in the movie. They said we couldn’t mention or show Freddie Mercury, like in my movie Freddie Mercury just cannot exist. That was their one thing.
Because of that, we said, “Well, we’ll make the joke about the other three guys from Queen and we’ll have the Lonely Island come in and be the other three guys from Queen.” As it turned out, Andy Samberg chose to reproduce that month, so he was not available. But both Jorma [Taccone] and Akiva [Schaffer] wanted to be in the movie, so Jorma plays Pee-wee Herman and Akiva plays Alice Cooper. [Eds. note: David Dastmalchian ended up playing Queen bassist John Deacon in the final film.]
I don’t feel horrible mentioning this because he alluded to it on The Tonight Show, but Lin-Manuel Miranda also has a cameo in the movie, though you don’t really know it’s him until you do. Was that a conscious reveal moment?
Well, I’m glad it worked out that way. When I first announced in February that I was doing the movie, within minutes I got a text from Lin-Manuel saying, “What do you want me to do in it?” I was gonna approach him anyway, but the fact that he jumped at the chance was really cool.
I told him, “Let me know when you’re gonna be in LA and we’ll figure it out.” He told me the one day he was going to be in LA, and I looked at our production schedule and said, “OK, he can be the doctor.” It’s very cool, because it’s the first scene in the movie and the first big reveal, and it gets a big laugh.
Paul F. Tompkins’ cameo is great because he plays Gallagher, so he gets to smash a watermelon. How did he land that role? Is it just because he sort of looks like Gallagher if you squint?
Partly. I mean, I love Paul, and I’m glad we got a chance to have him in the movie, but Gallagher wasn’t in the script originally. I think he might have been a last-minute add-on, because originally we had Cheech and Chong in the scene, and then we had some problems with that for whatever reason, so we added Gallagher and immediately thought, “Oh, Paul F. Tompkins, of course.”
Quinta Brunson plays Oprah, which seems right considering how popular she’s getting. How do you know her?
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