The Harry Potter star is set to play the iconic comic musician in Roku Channel film WEIRD: The Al Yankovic Story, though revealed in a new interview that a rendition he did of Tom Lehrer’s song ‘The Elements’ likely put him in the frame for the part.
“When I talked to Al for the first time, I was like, ‘I’m immensely flattered by the idea that you would pick me to play you, but like, why me? I’m mystified but excited,” he revealed on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.
Radcliffe then recalled an appearance on The Graham Norton Show over a decade ago, where he appeared alongside Rihanna, admitting she was “bemused” by his rendition.
“I sang ‘The Elements’ next to Colin Farrell and a very bemused Rihanna,” the actor said. “I think she was like, ‘Who is this kid, and why is he singing all of ‘The Elements’?
“I guess Al saw that and was like, ‘This guy maybe gets it,'” Radcliffe added. “And so he picked me. So I’m very, very lucky, and now I’ve gotten to have accordion lessons with Al. I can go to my grave with that.”
A first look at Radcliffe in character was released last month, showing the actor donning Yankovic’s famous “Hawaiian shirt”.
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“Wearing the Hawaiian shirt is a huge responsibility that I don’t take lightly, and I’m honoured to finally share with the world the absolutely 100 percent unassailably true story of Weird Al’s depraved and scandalous life,” Radcliffe said (via The Hollywood Reporter) at the time.
Yankovic himself said of Radcliffe’s casting: “When my last movie UHF came out in 1989, I made a solemn vow to my fans that I would release a major motion picture every 33 years, like clockwork. I’m very happy to say we’re on schedule.
“And I am absolutely thrilled that Daniel Radcliffe will be portraying me in the film. I have no doubt whatsoever that this is the role future generations will remember him for.”
Alongside Radcliffe, WEIRD is set to star Evan Rachel Wood as Madonna, while Rainn Wilson will play Dr. Demento.