Daniel Radcliffe's Love For One Of Weird Al's Heroes Made Him An Easy Casting Choice

There were a lot of reasons to pick Daniel Radcliffe as the star in the parody Weird Al biopic, now available on Roku. For one thing, Radcliffe sorta kinda looks like Al, if you squint. More important, however, was Radcliffe's general attitude and his taste in music. In a recent interview on The View, Al Yankovic brought up the fact that Radcliffe was a fan of Tom Lehrer, who Yankovic considers one of his "comedy heroes." 

Although not that well-known these days, Tom Lehrer was big in the '60s for his comedy music, his parody songs particularly. One of his most famous works was "The Elements," where he names all the elements in the period tune to the tune of the "Major-General's Song" from "Pirates of Penzance." One of the reasons Harry Potter fans are more likely than most to know of this song is because Daniel Radcliffe once sang it on "The Graham Norton Show" in 2010, back when the Potter movies were reaching their grand finale. 

Radcliffe gives an impressive, catchy, deeply nerdy performance, one that would help him get a job offer ten years later. As Yankovic said, "He did the Elements Song on UK TV ... 'he's a huge nerd just like me!'" 

His dramatic acting chops also helped

The other big thing that helped was Daniel Radcliffe's experience giving serious performances. "Weird" might be a comedy film, but it's only funny because of how straight Radcliffe is able to play the absurd situations the character finds himself in. "It's supposed to play like a very serious, Oscar-bait Hollywood biopic," Yankovic said

Radcliffe's Al Yankovic goes through a traumatic childhood with unsupportive parents, an intense, toxic relationship with Madonna (Evan Rachel Wood), and struggles with alcohol and drug abuse. There's also some crazy stuff with Pablo Escobar, but we don't want to spoil anything. Although it's all exaggerated and silly, Radcliffe himself plays it with all the skill you'd expect from the star of a serious, Oscar-winning biopic. It's a lot like how Sterling K. Brown, an actor known for giving intense, emotionally affecting performances, got to use that skill to be one of the best recent hosts on "Saturday Night Live."

Post-Harry Potter, Daniel Radcliffe's made a name for himself by playing a string of weird but undeniably fascinating roles in movies like "Swiss Army Man," "Horns" and "Kill Your Darling," proving himself an actor with a lot of range and an eagerness to continually improve and experiment. When Yankovic tells us that Radcliffe was his first choice, it's easy to see why.