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Evan Rachel Wood on playing Madonna in new Weird Al biopic: “I just assumed they had her permission”

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Evan Rachel Wood as Madonna, courtesy of The Roku Channel

Weird: The Al Yankovic Story is now streaming on the Roku Channel.  Since “Weird Al” Yankovic is the king of song parodies, the biopic is also a parody — of musical biopics. That means almost nothing you see portrayed in the film actually happened — especially Al’s relationship with Madonna.

In 1985, Al released “Like a Surgeon,” his parody of “Like a Virgin” — and Madonna herself came up with the song’s title.  But that was the extent of their involvement: They only met once, very briefly. But in Weird, Madonna and Al are romantically involved, with Madonna willing to do pretty much anything to get Al to parody her song.  In fact, Al has described Madonna as the “villain” of the movie.

So when Evan Rachel Wood signed on to play Madonna in the film, she tells ABC Audio, “I honestly just assumed that they had had her permission [to depict her that way].” Having met Madonna in the past and gotten along with her, Wood figured she wouldn’t anger the Queen of Pop, since she’d obviously okayed the idea…right? Wrong.

Wood says she asked, “So, what’d Madonna say when she found out about this?” — and was told, “We don’t know. We didn’t talk to her.”  Because the movie’s a parody, the producers told her, they could “do anything.”

“I was, like, “Oh, wow. Okay. Didn’t know that!'” Wood laughs. But though she had to portray Madonna doing some pretty insane things, she still tried to make it realistic.

“I did take it seriously,” she notes. “And I did prepare and I put a lot into trying to get her mannerisms and her voice right.”

She laughs, “And then, we’re sort of able to take that foundation and blow it up, and make it as…funny and weird as we want!” 

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