Daniel Radcliffe isn’t going to let those accordion lessons go to waste.
The Harry Potter actor learned to play the uniquely difficult instrument so he could portray Weird Al Yankovic in the wildly inventive biopic, Weird: The Al Yankovic Story. He was even gifted an accordion by Yankovic himself when he finished the movie.
Though he still has a long way to go, he hopes to keep up with it, Radcliffe tells EW while sitting with us in our studio at the Toronto International Film Festival, where Weird made its world premiere.
“I’m not good at the accordion, but I’ve come so far with it relative to the nothing that I started at that it seems dumb to just stop playing completely,” Radcliffe says. “I think I’m going to very gradually keep it up over the years, and maybe one day I’ll be able to play a song with both hands at the same time.”
Radcliffe got to spend time with the real Yankovic while making the film, as the musician was hands-on with the project. “It was very intimidating to be on set with him while we were making this movie about him — he’s an incredibly generous, sweet guy,” adds the actor. “He tried to valiantly to teach me the accordion and was generally very available.”
The Roku Channel Daniel Radcliffe in ‘Weird: The Al Yankvoic Story’
Director Eric Appel says Yankovic was so devoted to the biopic that he participated in post-production sessions every day even while on tour. “He was on Zoom all day long from his tour bus,” Appel recalls. ‘All the way until he’d get onstage to perform, he’d be texting me. I’d start to respond and I’d get back, ‘Oops, on stage'”
Part of the movie’s sound mix includes a panoply of some of Yankovic’s most beloved songs, as well as a new track he wrote for the end credits. Radcliffe says that made it difficult to get the ear-worms out of his head. “Every time we’d do a song on set, it would then remain in the entire crew’s brain until we did the next song,” he laughs. “I had a fairly decent head-start in [playing Al] in that I was fairly well acquainted with all the songs I’m singing in the movie.”
Watch the video above for more. Weird: The Al Yankovic Story will be available on The Roku Channel beginning Nov. 4.