Tom Hiddleston to Play Country Icon Hank Williams in Biopic

Ben Pruchnie/FilmImage

“The Avengers” star Tom Hiddleston will play Hank Williams — and sing the country music icon’s songs — in the independent biopic “I Saw the Light.”

Brett Ratner’s RatPac Entertainment, Bron Studios and Creative Wealth Media Finance are producing and financing. Production is scheduled to begin in October in Louisiana.

Veteran producer Marc Abraham will direct from his own script, which is based on the 1994 book “Hank Williams: The Biography” by Colin Escott, George Merritt and William MacEwen.

Aaron L. Gilbert will produce with Ratner, G. Marq Rosell and Abraham. James Packer, Ratner’s partner in RatPac, will exec produce.

Producers have obtained rights from Sony ATV for Williams’ songs, including “Your Cheatin’ Heart,” “I”m So Lonesome I Could Cry” and “Hey Good Lookin’.”

Williams was born in 1923 in Alabama and broke out in the post-World War II era with the song “Move It on Over.” Among his hits are “Lost Highway,” “Jumbalaya (on the Bayou),” “Ramblin’ Man,” “You Win Again” and “Lovesick Blues.”

He suffered from spina bifida and died at age 29 of heart failure after struggling with alcoholism and addiction to prescription pills.

Hiddleston is best known for his playing Loki in the Marvel movies “Thor,” “The Avengers” and “Thor: The Dark World.” Other credits include “Midnight in Paris” and “War Horse.”

Abraham began developing the project in 2009 while he was partnered in the now-defunct Strike Entertainment with Eric Newman. His other directing credits include “Flash of Genius.”

Hiddleston is represented by Hamilton Hodell, WME, Authentic and Peikoff Mahan Law Office.

Variety sister site Deadline Hollywood first broke the news.

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  1. I was born in 1944 and hank Williams was on the radio night and day we were all his fans my dad played all his music on the guitar his stage name was Luke the drifter when. Is this movie going to air I saw the movie cheating heart I had cold chills through the. Whole thing I would. WAtch it over and over those were the days when country music was real

  2. Lysandwr Blaidd says:

    Great title, brought a tear to my eye. Great actor–looking forward to seeing what he does with the role. As long as script and directing are up to the same standard, this will be a winner.
    And this was so good, it bears repeating:
    “In reply to those naysayers about him not being American – let’s not waste anybody’s time with listing the huge number of non-American iconic characters both historical and fictional played by American actors.”

  3. Waldo says:

    This movie is doomed, bad title, bad actor.

    • Trini says:

      Hiddleston is an amazing actor! He is so talented at so many things, I’m beginning to wonder if he’s even human. Never heard him sing, but the dude can dance, ace interviews, and he can steal the whole show when he’s on camera. Really looking forward to this.

  4. Lynda says:

    There could not be a better choice! Tom Hiddleston is the most multi-talented performer I have seen in many, many years. He’ll be great!!

  5. sz says:

    Tom is a magnificent actor, and it is thrilling to watch him take on such diverse and challenging roles and excel in every one! Very few American actors have the talent to take on this kind of role. Tom is multi-talented, with such a wide range of skills, an unbelievably charismatic appeal, and a contagious energy that he brings to every endeavor. It is because of him that I am now excited for a film I probably wouldn’t have ever watched otherwise. For the naysayers, I know that you may doubt him now…but when this film is released, he will make you a believer. Tom Hiddleston is the real deal, and if you give him a chance, you will NOT be disappointed!

  6. Mary says:

    I grew up listening to country(old country, not the pop-country of today) and to people like Patsy and Hank. All the comments about Tom not being American are irrelevant. He is very talented and like someone already said Hank was about charisma, he wasn’t the best vocalist. Tom has that in spades and I think most of you that are disappointed are unfamiliar with his acting, As a Tom and Hank fan I’m pleasantly surprised at the casting and I think if you all give Tom a chance he will prove he was the best man for the part.

  7. miriamspia says:

    Recently, Hiddlestoners noticed that Tom wasn’t Tweeting as often. Now I wonder the obvious – was he so focused on making sure he landed the new role that he just didn’t want to mess with himself by anything vaguely potentially distracting?

  8. Tess says:

    I’m excited to see Tom Hiddleston play this role. He has always delivered and astonished viewers with his acting.

    In reply to those naysayers about him not being American – let’s not waste anybody’s time with listing the huge number of non-American iconic characters both historical and fictional played by American actors. It is called acting for a reason and if the actor is plays the part well, then that’s all that should matter. If not, then please join the critics and have at them.

    Keep your ‘American indignation’ to more worthy causes.

  9. RP Russell says:

    His grandson Hank iii would have been a better fit. Looks and sings just like his granddaddy!

    • Lysandwr Blaidd says:

      Well, I’m sure he was considered….perhaps he didn’t want to do it, perhaps they decided he was too old (12 years older than Hank Sr at time of dead) Perhaps they felt it would be stronger to go with an extremely talented, dedicated actor with some musical ability and train him to sing. Hank, Sr’s big thing was Charisma for days, it seems…and Tom Hiddleston DEFINITELY has that!

  10. C.A. Neal says:

    Hank Williams is an American country music legend. An American should play him in the movie. I bet Hank Williams Jr. does not like the casting.

  11. Mayu says:

    Tom Hiddleston is actually a really good actor and I’m sorry – to all those that say he doesn’t look the part, take the photo they posted in this article, and do a search for Hank Williams, then look at their faces side by side. It’s actually an excellent fit from the cheekbones, to the nose, even their smile is similar. Look at the cover for “Lovesick Blues” and look at Tom Hiddleston’s smiles. Give it a chance… you guys are going to be kicking yourselves for doubting his appropriateness.

  12. Hank says:

    I’m also very disappointed in the casting.He look too old.

    • pharmgirl30 says:

      I really mean no disrespect by saying this ,Hank Williams may have only been 29 when he passed away , but in his short life he abused alcohol and prescription drugs and both did age him early . In most pictures he did look at least 10 to 15 years older than what he really was.

  13. angelwings1 says:

    As a lifelong Hank Williams Sr. fan I’m very disappointed in the casting.

    • Trini says:

      Please don’t judge anyone for being an alcoholic/addict. I know this can be incredibly difficult at times, but it’s such an overpowering DISEASE that it erodes the best and brightest of us from the inside out. It’s no less tragic an ailment than diabetes or MS … and it IS genetic.

    • He will surprise you. He is a very good actor and he can sing very well. And his mimicry of accents is well known.

  14. I will go to see it, although I have never been a fan of Mr. Williams. Tom has a lovely singing voice.

  15. Shelly says:

    As a native Alabamian, I have to say that typically Englishmen and Australians do much more authentic Southern accents than Americans from either the west or the east coast.

  16. If you doubt his ability to do an American Southern accent, google his performance of Kingdom of Earth, by Tennessee Williams. It’s very well done.

  17. LAB says:

    At first glance, it might seem iffy but Tom has an uncanny ability to mimic other actors – his Owen Wilson and Chris Evans impressions that he’s done in interviews are hysterical and pretty close to the mark. He’s an astonishingly good actor. I think he can pull it off. Singing though – I don’t know.

  18. DougW says:

    I give up. I guess there is nothing quintessentially American anymore. Look forward to a movie about Burt Reynolds starring Kenneth Branagh.

    • Rebeca B says:

      As a general rule, I look forward to anything Kenneth Branagh does. However, I’m hard-pressed to pick a part of Burt Reynolds’s life that would make a good movie plot.

      • Lisa H. says:

        I’m hard pressed to find an acting role that Burt Reynolds played that ever made a good movie plot.
        Now if Tom Hiddleston were to play Kenneth Branagh? THAT would be amazing.
        He was wonderful in the Henry IV & Henry V adaptations (The Hollow Crown), so he already has a head start!!

    • You do know actors from all nationalities play people from all nationalities. Americans play people from other countries consistently–no one seems to complain about that. It is part of their employment to know, learn, and master accents.

  19. Linda says:

    I always enjoying reading news about Tom Hiddleston. Loved him as Loki. He does look like Hank Williams (Deadline has a photo), which I suspect was why he was chosen (along with being a good actor anyway). He can learn an accent, though I didn’t realize he could sing.

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