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Should Brit Star Tom Hiddleston Take on Country Icon Hank Williams?

Photo of Anne Thompson By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood June 12, 2014 at 8:34PM

As high as I am on Tom Hiddleston, the idea of him playing all-American country music icon Hank Williams gives me pause.
Tom Hiddleston
Tom Hiddleston
Hank Williams
Hank Williams

Somehow this role should go to an American actor. This casting feels like a foreign sales decision. Hiddleston, who is bankable thanks to playing Loki in two Thor films and "The Avengers," is set to play Williams in writer-director Marc Abraham's "I Saw the Light," based on Colin Escott’s biography.  Via Sony ATV, the biopic has secured rights to the Williams music catalogue including such hits as “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry,” “Hey Good Lookin’” and “Your Cheatin’ Heart.”

Not that Hiddleston isn't a gifted actor and singer. After supporting roles in Woody Allen's "Midnight in Paris" and Steven Spielberg's "War Horse," Hiddleston starred opposite Rachel Weisz in Terence Davies' drama "Deep Blue Sea," in the TV series "The Hollow Crown," Jim Jarmusch's "Only Lovers Left Alive," has shot "Crimson Peak" for Guillermo del Toro, and is set to film Ben Wheatley's "High Rise" for producer Jeremy Thomas and Recorded Picture Company. Hank Williams will be an exciting challenge for him. It just feels....wrong. 

Producer-turned-director Abraham recently directed the underwhelming drama "Flash of Genius," starring Greg Kinnear. Brett Ratner and James Packer's Ratpac Entertainment will finance "I Saw the Light," and Aaron L. Gilbert will produce for Bron Studios alongside Ratner, G. Marq Roswell and Abraham. The Bron Studios / RatPac Entertainment production, in association with Creative Wealth Media Finance, is scheduled to begin production in Louisiana in October 2014. 

This article is related to: Tom Hiddleston, Musical, Biopics

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Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.