Why Daniel Radcliffe was chosen to play Weird Al Yankovic in the new movie

Image via Roku Channel

Some might find it surprising that Harry Potter star Daniel Radcliffe was chosen for the Roku Channel’s new biopic Weird: The Al Yankovic Story, but it turns out that Weird Al chose him himself for his surprising musical parodying skills. It can be hard to detach one’s name from iconic roles, but Radcliffe has managed to star in some unexpected movies that have shown his range in his adulthood. He’s already conquered the mountain of starring in one of the biggest movie franchises in history, and now he gets to experiment with many different kinds of roles that don’t necessarily involve sorcery.

The trailer for Weird shows the humble and hilarious beginnings of Weird Al with his parody of Madonna’s “Like a Virgin” titled “Like a Surgeon” as the theme. He performs on stage with his accordion, dances around, and gets into a fight. It’s everything you’d expect from a story about Weird Al and more. The video ends with Al saying, “I’m full of surprises,” and it’s hard not to think that this is in reference to Radcliffe as well.

It was reported by The Hollywood Reporter that Weird Al wanted Radcliffe to play him after watching him perform a parody song of his own. On The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, Radcliffe told the story of his conversation with Al. The comedian saw Radcliffe on The Graham Norton Show in 2010, where he performed Tom Lehrer’s novelty song “The Elements” in the tune of “Major-General’s Song” from the opera The Pirates of Penzance, and it impressed Al.

Colin Farrell (The Batman) and Rihanna were also there to watch his performance, and Radcliffe wasn’t so sure that the latter was in love with it. Regardless of that, Radcliffe got to have an accordion lesson with Al, so perhaps it all worked out. He said that Al liked him and that he felt very lucky for having been chosen, and now he can add this to his growing list of fascinating roles.

Previously, Radcliffe appeared in Swiss Army Man, in which he played a dead, flatulent man who’s used as various tools for the survival of a stranded man on an island. In Horns, he played a man blamed for the murder of his girlfriend who then grows horns and gains supernatural powers to find the killer. In the more biopic Kill Your Darlings, he played a young Allen Ginsberg, the famous poet who got involved in a complicated relationship with Lucien Carr (Dane DeHaan). Taking all of this into account, the fact that he went on to play Weird Al seems just a little less weird.

Radcliffe doesn’t really favor Al all that much, but anyone who knows Al’s work would understand that this fits his sense of humor. This movie seems like it will be a parody of a biopic (as is Al’s style) and will lean less into reality in favor of playing up the comedy elements. In that way, it makes it funnier that the actor isn’t going for the most authentic replication of the comedy legend, as it will allow the story to go to more bizarre places.

The cast of Weird includes Rainn Wilson (The Office), Toby Huss (Dickinson), and Julianne Nicholson (Mare of Easttown). Evan Rachel Wood has been cast as the music icon Madonna, and other famous figures from the 1980s are expected to show up in the film as well.

Weird: The Al Yankovic Story started filming on Feb. 10, 2022, so the release date isn’t yet known, but we’ll be sure to update you when more information becomes available.