Music biopics come in every shape and size, and considering some have earned award season acclaim — “I Walk The Line,” “Crazy Heart,” “Ray,” et al. — they’re not going away any time soon (even when their conventions gets spoofed by films like “Walk Hard”). Late ‘80s rappers N.W.A. got their due this summer, and the next major music biography film is “I Saw the Light,” which centers on legendary country western singer Hank Williams. The film chronicles his meteoric rise to fame and its ultimately tragic effect on his health and personal life.
It stars Tom Hiddleston (“The Avengers,” “Crimson Peak”) as Williams and Elizabeth Olsen (“Oldboy,” “Godzilla”) as his wife, Audrey Mae Williams. Based on the book “Hank Williams: The Biography” by Colin Escott, the picture tells the story of the legendary performer, who rose high and died young at the age of 29. Many assumed the potentially powerful tale would be an Oscar player. Not so.
Deadline reports that the picture, directed by Marc Abraham (“Flash of Genius,” and a producer on “Children of Men” and countless other films), has been bounced from its November 27th release date to March 25, 2016. The move isn’t totally surprising. Reviews out of the Toronto International Film Festival where the drama premiered were mixed at best, and largely quieted any awards buzz. However, Sony Pictures Classic co-President Tom Bernard is saying next year, they’ll go for Oscar gold, and that the reception at TIFF had no bearing on the decision to move “I Saw The Light.”
“We looked at the landscape and are making a decision that I think is a good one for the film, ” he told the site. “Tom Hiddleston’s got three movies out potentially so the press is consuming him….What we saw was ‘I Saw The Light’ up against the wall in this tight race of people throwning their Oscar movies out, and it’s almost all or nothing. We thought this was a movie we could do a lot for leading up to its release that I think will put it in a much better place, and we’ll be able to go for it (Oscars) next year with him and re-open it at Christmas.”
If “I Saw The Light” really does re-open for Christmas 2016 for an Oscar campaign, I’ll eat my hat. At any rate, a plethora of images from the movie should hold you over until the movie arrives in the spring.