Weird: The Al Yankovic Story Director And Weird Al Himself Were Blown Away By Daniel Radcliffe [Exclusive]

It's a true challenge for any actor to portray a real person who is still alive. Sure, you can play a deceased historical figure, too, but there's no chance Abraham Lincoln will ever see Daniel Day-Lewis' performance in "Lincoln" and grow angry about the voice he used. When you are tasked with playing a character based on a real human being who's probably going to see the movie, there's an immense amount of pressure to get everything right.

Daniel Radcliffe's role in "Weird: The Al Yankovic Story" is both an example and a subversion of this idea. When Radcliffe was announced to play Weird Al, many people were surprised. He really doesn't look anything like the esteemed parody artist, and Radcliffe would admit that. But according to an interview with Weird Al himself at Uproxx, he and director Eric Appel both believed that, despite his lack of physical resemblance, Radcliffe was the right man for the part.

"Eric Appel and I came up with a list of about a half a dozen or so people that we thought, oh, these people would probably be good in the role. And we both just kept gravitating toward Daniel's name. We just thought that he would get it. We knew that he was great at comedy, and he was also great at drama. And we need both for this movie, because it's a comedy obviously, but we need it to play like it's some extremely serious Oscar-bait Hollywood biopic. And we knew that Daniel would really focus into that tone and really get what we were going for."

As strange as the casting may have seemed, it paid off, as Radcliffe would blow away both Appel and Yankovic with his performance.

We didn't expect this

While Radcliffe is definitely most well known for his time as Harry Potter, he's also done some quality work in comedies and is a student of the game, with his performance in 2022's "The Lost City" beingĀ inspired in part by legendary comedic actor Tim Curry. Radcliffe has proven his humor chops in the past, so it makes sense why Appel and Yankovic gravitated toward him.

And according to an interview with /Film's own Ethan Anderton, Appel was extremely impressed with Radcliffe's performance during the movie's extremely quick filming schedule.

"What the hope was going to be when we went out to him, it was like, we need someone that's a great dramatic actor, but knows comedy really well and isn't going to push comedy," said Appel. "We didn't want anything to feel comedically pushed in his performance. It should all feel super grounded, and that's what makes it funny."

Radcliffe brought that balance of drama and comedy to the film, where he excelled at playing ridiculous plot points completely straight. His dedication to the part impressed both Appel and Yankovic.

"To the extent of how good his performance was, that kind of blew me away. I'd hoped that it would be great. And I was confident that it would be great. But until you see it on its feet, my God. I remember sitting behind a monitor and there's this take, and Dan has tears in his eyes in this scene, and Al and I are turning to each other and we're just like, 'What do we... I mean, I don't know. We didn't expect this.'"

To see the performance that knocked Weird Al's socks off, you can catch "Weird: The Al Yankovic Story" on the Roku Channel starting November 4, 2022.