'Weird Al' Yankovic inspired line in ET film but he wasn't famous at the time

Darcy Rafter September 2, 2022
'Weird Al' Yankovic inspired line in ET film but he wasn't famous at the time
Photo by Erik Voake/Getty Images for Adult Swim

While it has been four decades since ET first phoned home, parodist, “Weird Al” Yankovic actually inspired a line from the 1982 classic, even though he wasn’t famous at the time.

E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial is the story of a young boy called Elliott (Henry Thomas), who forms a psychic bond with an alien and makes it his mission to help him get back home, with the help of his sister Gertie (Drew Barrymore) and brother Michael (Robert MacNaughton).

The first trailer has just been released of Al’s new biopic Weird: The Al Yankovic Story, which follows the life of the American singer known for creating humorous parodies of well-known songs. So, let’s take a look at what other film Yankovic has unknowingly been an inspiration for.

Photo by Phillip Faraone/FilmMagic

‘Weird Al’ Yankovic inspired line in ET film

Weird Al Yankovic may not have been a household name when Steven Spielberg’s classic film was released but the accordion player was actually an inspiration behind a joke in the film.

The inspiration comes in a scene when Michael returns from school and Elliott calls him into his room as he is about to reveal the “goblin,” to his brother. Before he does, Elliott insists that his secret must be kept, by using the words “absolute power” a reference to the Dungeon and Dragons game they had played at the start of the film.

When Elliott swears Michael to secrecy. Michael mockingly agrees in a voice similar to Yoda, the Jedi master from Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back.

Michael’s very good Yoda impression comes from an inside joke, as the pair would often listen to “Weird Al” Yankovic’s song “Yoda.”

Robert MacNaughton who played Elliott’s brother Michael in E.T. revealed: “We used to listen to Dr. Demento,” he told Yahoo! in 2017, “and at that time “Weird Al” Yankovic had a song called ‘Yoda’ that was like the Kinks’ song ‘Lola.’ And so I used to play that for Henry and I used to do a Yoda impression, just between us. But then when we were doing the movie he said, ‘”You have absolute power” sounds like something Yoda would say.'” Spielberg ended up keeping the line in the final cut.

Weird Al on Dr. Demento

“Weird Al” didn’t release Dare to Be Stupid until 1986 but listeners of Dr. Demento’s program were already familiar with the song as Yankovic had been sending his own homemade tapes to the DJ since he was a teenager.

When E.T. was in production, Yankovic had already released two singles: My Bologna and Another One Rides the Bus, which were recorded live on a 1980 episode of Demento’s show.

However, he still submitted his demos and one of the fan favorites was an early version of Yoda. Once Yankovic secured Ray Davies’ permission, he re-recorded “Yoda” for Dare to Be Stupid.

Photo by Jay L. Clendenin/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

Al inspired ET, but also his own biopic

Set to be released on November 4, the 2022 movie follows Al’s unconventional life on his rise to fame. Yankovic is played by Daniel Radcliffe and in a statement earlier this year, Weird Al revealed he was delighted that Daniel Radcliffe is playing him in the biography movie.

“I am absolutely thrilled that Daniel Radcliffe will be portraying me in the film,” he said. “I have no doubt whatsoever that this is the role future generations will remember him for.”

The actor is honored to be given the role too, telling The Hollywood Reporter: “Wearing the Hawaiian shirt is a huge responsibility that I don’t take lightly.

“I’m honoured to finally share with the world the absolutely 100 percent unassailably true story of Weird Al’s depraved and scandalous life,” he continued.

Weird: The Al Yankovic Story will be released on The Roku Channel on November 4 and can be watched via Roku streaming players, Roku TVs and NOW and Sky Q devices.

Have something to tell us about this article?
Let us know
Darcy is an experienced journalist passionate about celebrity culture and entertainment. After gaining a degree in Media and Communications at Goldsmiths University she has also become a social media specialist, always keeping informed on the latest trends. With almost five years of experience in media, her expertise is analysing platforms such as Instagram, Twitter and TikTok. When she's not tracking the latest trending content, she’s watching films and eating lots of chocolate.