The Charmingly Odd Way Daniel Radcliffe Got The ‘Weird Al’ Yankovic Role Involved Rihanna, Colin Farrell, And The Periodic Table

Daniel Radcliffe has no interest in returning to the Harry Potter series, as he’s politely revealed. But that’s partly because he has other things going on. One of them is playing “Weird Al” Yankovic, the legendary novelty pop star who’s spent decades doing lampoons of hit songs. How the former The Boy Who Lived wound up playing the Hawaiian shirt fanatic is actually an interesting one — long in the making and involving some other big time celebs, as he revealed on Friday’s The Tonight Show.

“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?’” he recalled to host Jimmy Fallon.

It actually involved something he’d done a very long time ago. Back in November 2010, Radcliffe was on a typically packed episode of The Graham Norton Show, alongside Colin Farrell and Rihanna. At one point, when he was bit 21 years old, the actor sang a cover of a classic novelty song, “The Elements,” Tom Lehrer’s ode to the periodic table set to Gilbert and Sullivan’s dense “I Am the Very Model of Modern Major General,” from The Pirates of Penzance.

“I sang ‘The Elements’ next to Colin Farrell and a very bemused Rihanna, who I think was like, ‘Who is this kid and why is he singing all of the elements?'” Radcliffe reminisced. “And I guess Al saw that and was like, ‘This guy maybe gets it.’ And so picked me.”

Radcliffe’s rendition of the song — a great way to learn all 118 elements on the periodic table and then impress talk show audiences, hosts, and fellow guests — is really something, and terribly charming to boot. So if you’re able to do the whole song, and starred in an intensely popular film franchise, you might have a chance of being cast as a musical genius.

You can watch Radcliffe’s Tonight Show appearance in the video above.

(Via Entertainment Weekly)