Evan Rachel Wood on Channeling Madonna During the Weird Al Press Tour


In Eric Appel’s Weird: The Al Yankovic Story, the kooky singer known as “Weird Al”—who you may know for his parody songs, such as “White & Nerdy”—gets his inception story told. Though, it’s more of a loose biopic—and mostly satirical. Actor Evan Rachel Wood, who portrays Madonna in the comedic film, was instantly drawn to the project, which was shot in just 18 days. She saw a fun challenge in taking on such an iconic pop figure. “I felt safer in it being a comedy. You can take more liberties there,” says Wood, who still wanted to get the role right. “You can’t just look like Madonna: You have to move, sit, stand, and gesticulate like her. What surprised me taking on the role is I couldn’t find anyone else who had played Madonna in a film yet, so that became my motivation; I felt like I was breaking the seal in a way.”

During the film’s press tour during these past few months, Wood continued her nods to Madonna with her red carpet fashion choices, too. Working with stylist Samantha McMillen, the pair wanted to use red carpets as a way to pay homage to the singer’s iconic style—particularly, her love of tailoring—in the 1980s and 1990s. “It felt wrong to play such a fashion icon and not bring some of that to the red carpet,” says Wood. “Purely out of respect for her. I would be bummed if the person playing Madonna wasn’t somewhat exciting on the carpet.” McMillen adds, “Madonna has a knack for combining masculine pieces with very feminine pieces like no other. Evan also shares that gift: They have both worn amazing femme fatale looks without making them too dated or over the top.”

Evan Rachel Wood in Moschino

Photo: Getty Images

Madonna on her Blonde Ambition tour in the ’90s

Photo: Getty Images

To bring Madonna to life via style, the pair zeroed in on a few key Madonna looks from early on in her career. For the Brooklyn, New York premiere this month, for instance, Wood wore a pinstriped Moschino dress with a cross necklace—an homage to the pinstriped tailoring Madonna wore during her ’90s “Blonde Ambition” tour. “The ‘Blonde Ambition’ tour was a favorite of mine,” says Wood. “Her performance of ‘Express Yourself’ on that tour is still one of the greatest things I have ever seen. So any nod to that was thrilling.” For McMillen, the challenge as a stylist was pointing to Madonna without it looking cheesy. “Evan and I didn’t want anything to look like a costume or too literal,” she says, adding that it was a natural tie-in to Woods’s own personal style. “Evan’s personal style naturally aligns with [Madonna’s] preference for sharp tailoring.”

Evan Rachel Wood in Saint Laurent

Photo: Getty Images

Madonna at a premiere in 1990

Photo: Getty Images

Another element the pair incorporated during the press tour was classic black dresses—a staple of Madonna’s that Wood interpreted via a black Saint Laurent gown at the Toronto premiere in September—and corsetry. Of course, fans will remember Madonna’s infamous Jean Paul Gaultier cone bra. For a more sleek approach, Wood wore a Max Mara suit with an Agent Provocateur corset to a Variety event in September. “I loved the corset with the pin-stripe suit,” Wood says. “I am not one to normally wear a corset on a press tour. But this felt like a special occasion.” For McMillen, another highlight was a more casual, striped knitwear moment that Wood wore to a September photo call for the film in Toronto. “I loved the Monse stripe sweater and high-waisted corset trouser look,” she says. “It was very modern, but also punk, femme, and ’80s at the same time.”