Speaking to NME in a new interview this month, alongside Radcliffe and Weird director Eric Appel, the Harry Potter star admitted he was surprised to be considered for the role. “When I was approached, I thought, ‘That’s really cool, but I feel like there are people closer to Al, physically’,” he said.
“I didn’t get at all what the premise of the film was. Then I started reading the script and realised, oh, naturalism and accuracy is not part of their game.”
Yankovic went on to explain that he had decided Radcliffe might be the man for the role after seeing him on The Graham Norton Show, singing an unusual song in front of Colin Farrell and Rihanna over a decade ago.
“He performed ‘The Elements Song’ by Tom Lehrer,” said Yankovic, referring to the tongue-twisting song that namechecks every element on the Periodic Table. “You have to be kind of a big nerd to memorise that. I thought: ‘Here’s a kindred spirit. This guy gets it.’”
Watch the clip, including Radcliffe’s impressive verbal gymnastics, below.
Radcliffe also said that his girlfriend and her family’s love of Yankovic’s musical parodies provided an additional motivation to take the role.
“That was when my induction into the fold really began… Every road trip or Christmas, there will be an Al soundtrack. There’s a lot of Al in our lives,” he explained, adding: “If it hadn’t been good I could never listen to Al again, but I also might well be single and would certainly never be allowed to see the in-laws again.”
In a four-star review of Weird, NME wrote: “Occasionally, it all gets a bit too on the nose. The constant mock-veneration of Al’s lyrical prowess is overdone – and co-writer Yankovic’s desperate need to show he’s in on the joke quickly grows tiresome. And yet, Radcliffe’s winning performance – like a goofy high-schooler who wins the lottery – is enough to keep everyone laughing.
“Top that off with an album’s worth of quirky cameos, including Conan O’Brien’s genuinely laugh-out-loud Andy Warhol impression, and you’ve got a cult classic in the making.”
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