After he finished playing Harry Potter, Daniel Radcliffe set himself a specific acting goal, and his latest movie, Weird: The Al Yankovic Story, is proof that he has achieved it. Radcliffe will always be known as Harry Potter given his first major role was the popular young wizard. But since Harry Potter, Radcliffe has starred in an eclectic range of movies, including The Woman in Black, Guns Akimbo, and The Lost City, and that has been a purposeful choice by the actor.
In a recent interview (via GQ), Radcliffe revealed that early in his career he wanted “to try and get a reputation for being someone who wanted to try lots of different stuff.” He went on to explain, “obviously you want to be known as an actor who’s just in lots of different stuff rather than just a character or a specific character.” Although Radcliffe emphasizes he is not trying to distance himself from his Harry Potter work, being so easily recognized as the character understandably complicates his aim of being known as a versatile actor. But Radcliffe’s latest role as Al Yankovic in Weird: The Al Yankovic Story proves that he is achieving what he set out to do. Weird Al the whimsical, curly-haired parodist is a character so far removed from Harry Potter that it has given the actor the opportunity to demonstrate his range.
Having played the main character in one of film’s biggest franchises, it was always going to be a difficult task for Radcliffe to be viewed as anyone but Harry Potter, in the same way that Elijah Wood’s career has been defined by his role as Frodo Baggins in The Lord of the Rings. In Radcliffe’s early post-Hogwarts career, almost every role he took would be compared to Harry Potter. His performance in 2013’s Horns, which was released just two years after The Deathly Hallows: Part 2, was frequently compared to his Harry Potter performances given it was also set in a fantasy world. But as Radcliffe’s career has progressed, he has been able to shake off the Potter tag as he has proven himself as an excellent actor who can play a wide range of characters.
In the decade since Radcliffe’s time as Harry Potter, he has starred in horror flicks, romantic comedies, crime capers, pure comedies, and action movies. Arguably Guns Akimbo was the turning point for the actor, as a high-octane action comedy movie that sees Radcliffe with guns bolted to his hands. It is a stark contrast to the Harry Potter movies. Radcliffe’s two major roles since then, as the prison breaker Tim Jenkin in Escape from Pretoria and billionaire megalomaniac Abigail Fairfax in The Lost City, have continued his trend of playing different and quirky characters. His intriguing role as Weird Al Yankovic further adds to Radcliffe’s different reputation, given the parodist is such a unique, eccentric personality that enables him to perform in a way that he hasn’t before.
To achieve his personal aim of being known as an actor who takes on a variety of projects, Radcliffe had to get away from fantasy movies. By throwing himself into interesting characters across all genres he has been able to prove his acting talent, which by his own admission was often quite one-note after Radcliffe was cast as Harry Potter. While he will always be best known as The Boy Who Lived, with Weird: The Al Yankovic Story, Radcliffe has once again shown his commitment to trying new things and is now widely regarded as one of Hollywood’s most talented and versatile actors.
Next: Everything We Know About Daniel Radcliffe’s Weird Al Movie
Weird: The Al Yankovic Story premieres November 4 on The Roku Channel.