English actor Tom Hiddleston might be best known for his work in Asgard, but for his next project, he’s going to be heading to the American South. The affable thirty-three-year-old has signed on to play country music icon Hank Williams. Perhaps more impressively, he’s also signed on to sing his songs.
According to Variety, the project in question is called I Saw The Light. It’s based off the acclaimed 1994 non-fiction text Hank Williams: The Biography, and it will be helmed by longtime producer Marc Abraham from a script he wrote himself. Financing will be taken care of by a variety of non-studio parties including Brett Ratner’s RatPac Entertainment, Bron Studios and Creative Wealth Media Finance. Provided that all holds up, production will officially begin in Louisiana in October.
Hank Williams was both a once-in-a-generation talent and a once-in-a-generation mess. He was born in Alabama in 1923 and earned great fame locally thanks to appearances on the radio. Eventually, he was given his own radio show and quickly put together his own band. He was fired from both gigs for partying too hard and was forced to take a job building ships during World War II.
Eventually, he was able to get it together long enough during his mid-20s to land a recording contract, write and sign a string of gigantic hits and join the Grand Ole Opry. Of course, he lost all of that within a few years thanks to addictions to alcohol, pills and depending on who you speak with, morphine, but that little mini-run somehow produced some of the most beloved country classics of all time. "Move It On Over", "Your Cheating Heart", "Hey, Good Lookin" and a whole lot more were all written by Hank Williams during and in-between shots of alcohol and combative relationships with women.
Hank Williams died at the tender age of 29 from a combination of spina bifida and alcoholism, but he wound up being a major influence on an entire generation of musicians. His work is still beloved to this day, and as Tom Hiddleston can obviously attest to, even hardcore music fans from younger generations remain in awe of his unique voice and clever songwriting.
Tom Hiddleston is very good with accents and with impersonating other people. As such, there’s no reason to think he won’t be able to crush this Hank Williams role. So, until you hear otherwise, just assume Hiddleston will somehow figure out a way to master this voice by October…
People complain about the sheer number of biopics Hollywood makes during any given year. No doubt some of those claims have merit, but as musicians go, Hank Williams is actually a good choice and I Saw The Light should work. He’s famous enough that most people are at least vaguely aware of him and would be interested in learning more; yet, he’s wild enough and old enough that viewers should remain amused and interested.
Expect I Saw The Light sometime in 2015.