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Tom Hiddleston To Play Country Legend Hank Williams In Biopic 'I Saw The Light,' Because Obviously

by Oliver Lyttelton
June 12, 2014 7:35 PM
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Think of actors you'd naturally cast as legendary country singer Hank Williams. If, without reading the headline above, your list included Tom Hiddleston, the British actor best known for playing the villainously sneering Loki in "Thor" and "The Avengers," then you're a goddamn liar. And yet that exact thing has come to pass, as Deadline reveal that Hiddleston has signed on to star in "I Saw The Light," a biopic of Williams, in the lead role.

Williams, for the uninitiated, was a hugely influential country artist whose career kicked off in Montgomery, Alabama when he was only fourteen. He swiftly became a heavy drinker, married his manager, suffered from terrible back pain, began using prescription pills, recorded a number of hugely successful songs, including "Your Cheatin' Heart" and "I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry," and died of heart failure aged only 29 on New Year's Day 1953.

Hiddleston's hardly the most obvious choice for the role, but he's proven his versatility with the likes of "Only Lovers Left Alive," and it'll be interesting to see him play American for the first time in his career so far (aside from a small turn as writer F. Scott Fitzgerald in "Midnight in Paris").The actor will also be performing the songs in the film, with Williams' back catalog having already been secured. The biggest concern right now might be that the film is written and directed by Marc Abraham, a veteran producer ("Dawn Of The Dead,' "Children Of Men") whose sole directorial effort so far was bland Greg Kinnear-invents-the-windsheld-wiper movie "Flash Of Genius." But hopefully the material gives him more to play with here, and we'll certainly be there to check out Hiddleston's C&W makeover. Filming starts in Louisiana in October.

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  • Paige | June 30, 2014 9:04 PMReply

    Han III favors Matthew McConaughey. He is right to prefer an American. Too many
    pc people whining about him saying that but who has more right? Besides
    Way back in the day a brilliant casting director cast Richard Thomas
    To play Hank Jr. And despite Thomas being an "excellent actor" , he just
    Wasn't right for the part of Hank Jr.!!! And neither is Tom Hiddleston
    The right actor to play Hank. He just doesn't have the IT factor or the GENIOUS
    of Hank. OUTRAGE!!! REVENGE!! This choice has killed any interest
    by true Hank fans to whom he is still a beacon

  • Ceejay | June 19, 2014 5:46 AMReply

    Tom Hiddleston is an amazing actor.....Americans try to play British characters and either fail or don't do a good job about half the time, there are a few American actors that I've seen portray a decent British's only fair that a British actor plays an American role....besides, Tom is fantastic at impressions; I've heard his Southern accent and it's pretty good. I'm looking forward to seeing this film.

    When it comes to acting, diversity is something important. Actors need to be able to play roles outside their usual box or zone and do a good job of it too otherwise the movie will end up being rather crappy and it doesn't matter if the plot is good or not.

    Btw, I'm a New Zealander not British or American.

  • CBLAKE | June 14, 2014 1:57 PMReply

    Who cares if he's British!? If he pulls it off which we all assume he will because he's a fine actor then it will be fantastic... Isn't that the entire point of "Acting"?

  • Cblake | June 14, 2014 1:54 PMReply

    Ah can't wait to see this movie! That's such a good choice for him. I find it courageous and refreshing when good actors get diverse and try something out of the box. Good career choice.

  • Debs | June 14, 2014 12:42 PMReply

    Get a grip everyone, there are numerous examples of cross Atlantic projects; Amne Hathaway for example playing quintessential British people & we aren't bitching about it. Tom is a fine actor & will do the role justice. Calm down why don't you?

  • USA | June 14, 2014 11:13 AMReply

    Have you people seen his other work? He is an incredible actor. His voice impressions are spot on too! And no, I'm not a Brit troll. I live in western NY.

  • cbs | June 14, 2014 9:28 AMReply

    I Like TOM HIDDLESTON.................

  • Spost8260 | June 14, 2014 2:14 AMReply

    It's just not something I can understand to have a British actor portray an American icon. Whether he portrays him at star level it's still, basically, a slap in the face to all of the American talent that we have available who actually, probably, grew up on William's music or, at least, grew up knowing who he was. Why wasn't Hank's grandson chosen? He not only is the mirror image of his grandfather but he sounds so eerily like him that it sends chills through the listener. (And, btw, I thought Joaquin Phoenix did an excellent job as Cash). It still remains a massive slap in the face of America, regardless of any and all minor opinion. Because we know it, we see it and we feel it but you don't, does not mean that it isn't a fact.

  • D | June 14, 2014 4:44 PM

    Maybe he auditioned but he can't act.

  • LAB | June 13, 2014 9:46 PMReply

    What's everyone bitching about? It's not like Ben Affleck got the role. Tom can act and will take the role seriously - singing, well, we'll see, but you're missing out if you haven't heard Tom's impressions of Owen Wilson and Chris Evans. He can even do a fairly close Samuel L. Jackson. Tom's even got a fair resemblance to Hank - unlike Joaquin Phoenix who played Johnny Cash. I'm sensing Oscar bait.

  • LAB | June 14, 2014 7:10 PM

    Two questions. 1) What the hell is a brit troll? 2) Is typing one coherent sentence too much for you, Esperforce?

  • ESPERFORCE | June 13, 2014 10:34 PM

    brit... troll... nuff... said...

  • Ebony | June 13, 2014 7:41 PMReply

    Mr. Hiddleston's Southern accent is nearly flawless. Look up his reading of "Kingdom of Earth." He looks a good bit like Hank Sr., too.

  • Nancy Whitaker | June 13, 2014 6:40 PMReply

    Good Lord there are great Hank singers around. Is this guy going to shed his accent and get a southern one for this role?

  • LAB | June 13, 2014 9:48 PM

    No, he's going to play Loki in a cowboy hat.
    Yes, he'll drop the British accent. LOL!

  • MEDIABUSTERS | June 13, 2014 2:42 PMReply

    Like everyone who isn't a marketing troll trying to push this imported alien junk into America, all I can say is... YOU'VE GOT TO BE F*****G KIDDING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Sara | June 13, 2014 5:47 PM

    Like you Americans haven't tried to push your overloaded junk into our throats.

  • finn | June 13, 2014 2:05 PMReply

    Why not Adam Driver? And he can sing.

  • MOTOCROSS | June 13, 2014 10:50 PM

    Adam Driver would be the absolute living MOST!! He'd be THE BOMB!!!!!!!!!!!

  • jake | June 13, 2014 1:02 PMReply

    Why couldnt they cast my boy hank 3. The legends grandson? He could sing and lioks just like poor ol hank

  • Dedre | June 15, 2014 12:06 AM

    Hank Williams III is in his 40s (too old) and can't act, enough said

  • PROJECTOR | June 13, 2014 1:21 AMReply

    But we already have a perfectly good Scoot McNairy!

  • thin_green_candle | June 12, 2014 8:27 PMReply

    Sounds like a very interesting project to me, looking forward to it.

    He delivers deadpan humour in OLLA just the way it should be delivered, sorry if you missed it, Kate.

  • Kate | June 12, 2014 7:53 PMReply

    "but he's proven his versatility with the likes of "Only Lovers Left Alive"............where he misses deadpan funny by a mile and is instead vapid and wooden.

    " it'll be interesting to see him play American for the first time in his career so far"......he played F. Scott Fitzgerald in Midnight in Paris, but it's understandable to miss that considering how forgettable he is in it.

  • Will | August 15, 2014 7:43 PM

    That's your opinion, Kate. Plenty of critics thought Adam's deadpan is great in Only Lovers Left Alive. Too bad your opinion didn't get counted by Rotten Tomato.

  • Leah | June 12, 2014 10:23 PM

    HIddleston aka Loki played F. Scott Fitzgerald?! I just saw that movie and had no idea. Actually, it means he is a good actor to not be recognizable in a role. You are seeing the character not the actor.

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