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.
1/2/15 Update: Sony Pictures Classics announced they have acquired worldwide rights to the film.