Tom Hiddleston (The Avengers), best known to audiences as the delightfully wicked Loki in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, took to Twitter recently to reveal to fans a glimpse of the actor’s take on country icon Hank Williams in the first clip for I Saw the Light.
In the clip, Hiddleston captures some of Williams’ nasal bawl in a scene where the actor records the classic ‘Move it On Over’ in a Nashville studio. That scene is followed by one of Williams’ wife, played by fellow Marvel alum Elizabeth Olsen (Avengers: Age of Ultron), who displays Audrey Mae Williams’ uncompromising nature as she relays orders to a worker outside her home.
— Tom Hiddleston (@twhiddleston) September 10, 2015
Both Hiddleston and Olsen have earned deserved praise for their performances after I Saw the Light premiered at TIFF on Friday and have garnered themselves a modest amount of awards buzz. Hiddleston is said to highlight the singer’s tortured and self-destructive behavior as an alcoholic womanizer whose musical talents do little to serve the musician’s hard living ways. The film will predictably draw comparisons to James Mangold’s (The Wolverine) Walk the Line, which drew upon the life of Johnny Cash and June Carter, and saw both its leads- Joaquin Phoenix (Inherent Vice) and Reese Witherspoon (Wild)- earn themselves Academy Award nominations (with Witherspoon winning for Best Actress). Walk the Line similarly dealt with Johnny Cash’s addiction and the troubles it created in his personal life. Before that, Taylor Hackford’s Ray shared many of the same themes regarding it’s subject, Ray Charles (played by Jaime Foxx, in an Oscar winning performance). However, one major distinction between Hank Williams and the aforementioned singers is that Williams died tragically young, at only 29 years of age. Unlike both Cash and Charles, Williams never managed to overcome his addiction and left a large void in the music industry after his early demise.
Hiddleston, a British actor, was able to win over director Marc Abraham (Flash of Genius) during a dinner meet-up between the two. Abraham became convinced the Brit could play the American Williams almost immediately, and cast him in the role without so much as a reading. Casting a non-American actor in the role of an iconic American musician is not without precedent. In Todd Hayne’s (Carol) 2007 picture I’m Not There, musician Bob Dylan is played by two Brits in Christian Bale (The Fighter) and Ben Whishaw (Spectre), as well as two Australians in Cate Blanchett (Carol) and the late Heath Ledger (The Dark Knight).
I Saw the Light is slated for a November 27th release date through Sony Pictures Classics.