By Tessa Dufore, Sept. 27, 2022
In March, “Weird,” a new Roku Original biopic about artist “Weird Al” Yankovic and starring Daniel Radcliffe and Evan Rachel Wood, used Cal Poly Pomona campus for filming. The production team used RSI Locations on Pomona Boulevard, filming several different scenes over an eight-day period.
Yankovic, a famous American parody musician, is also one of Cal Poly San Luis Obispo’s most well-known alumni. Born in 1959 in Downey, California, Yankovic graduated from Cal Poly’s architecture program in 1980. In an interview, Yankovic talks about recording his song “My Bologna” in a bathroom across the hall from the campus’ radio station.
CPPSLO music professor Alyson McLamore recalled a story Inga Swearingen, the daughter of one of Yankovic’s architecture professors, told McLamore. The story was about Yankovic’s discovery of the “My Bologna” bathroom.
“Her (Swearingen’s) dad walked into the men’s restroom and Al was standing next to or kind of kneeling next to the men’s urinal, singing into it, ‘Oooh!’ And he said to his professor, ‘Listen to this! Listen to how it reverberates’ … His professor goes, ‘You know Al, I’m not sure that architecture is really your future,’” McLamore said.
Much like Yankovic, McLamore said that Mozart “had a good sense of humor,” adding that “the idea of satire has been around for centuries, and Mozart’s a great example: ‘A Musical Joke’ is a good example of taking people’s expectations and inverting them and thwarting them.”
“Weird” is not the first project to film on CPP’s campus. The campus’s iconic and futuristic architecture was also featured with the recently demolished CLA building in the 1997 cult classic, “Gattaca,” and the 2002 movie, “Imposter.” The television series “Westworld” filmed in the Environmental Design building in 2016, utilizing its distinct interior atrium.
A bicycling scene in episode two of season one of the show “Euphoria” appeared to utilize part of the recently acquired Lanterman Project, also known as Campus South. Part of episode four of the same season may have been filmed in the Campus South hospital.
The qualities of the Lanterman Project, the site where RSI Locations made those Hollywood connections, make it especially useful for film productions. Besides CPP’s ultramodern architecture, the campus can also provide nature, agriculture, period and many other types of aesthetics.
CPP’s assistant professor for the Department of Finance, Real Estate and Law Anthony Orlando seemed to agree when describing his experience visiting the site: “It’s a fascinating site. The first time I saw it, I was surprised at the scale of it, how many buildings are there … There’s a lot of land there that can be used and a lot of old buildings that might be interesting for filming.”
Max Silva, a producer from Tango Entertainment — one of several production companies that worked on the film — said that the Lanterman site “would be the best way to get several different locations of the film in one place.” He continued, “Instead of packing everything up and moving it across town, we were packing everything up and moving 100 feet down the street to a totally different location that worked for the film.”
During the eight days of filming at Cal Poly Pomona, Silva said that the campus “worked perfectly for the film.” He said that the reasons behind choosing the campus as a filming location was so that friends of Yankovic would be able to cameo for the movie and that the “Weird” setting had to be California, where Yankovic grew up and presently lives.
CPP Foundation CEO Jared Ceja said in an interview, “We have such a diverse campus in its architecture and its programs that I think it makes for a location scout’s dream. I mean, they get to look and do scenes, that are otherwise disconnected, 100 yards from each other.”
Ceja then said, “We enjoy being part of it, and when Campus South is fully developed, we will hopefully be at a point where we can talk about all the great things that were filmed there in the past.”
“Weird” comes out Nov. 4, for free on any Roku device.
Feature Image courtesy of Tessa Dufore
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