The first trailer for the Hank Williams biopic I Saw the Light starts with a quote from the country-Western legend: “People don’t write music — it’s given to them.” Well, he certainly accepted the gift, becoming one of the most influential and recorded songwriters of the 20th century. Now an unlikely actor is bringing his story to the big screen: Tom Hiddleston, a Londoner best known for playing Thor’s wild-haired archnemesis Loki.
But man, does it work. Hiddleston nails not only the Williams look but the crooner’s sound as well. And he does all the singing, as Joaquin Phoenix did in his Oscar-nominated portrayal of Johnny Cash a decade ago.
The film chronicles the star’s fabled hard-living — the drinkin’, the womanizin’, the tourin’, the rocket rise to stardom. But it also takes a close, intense look at Williams’ home life with wife Audrey Mae (Elizabeth Olsen) and his struggle to maintain it. After the birth of his son, the proud papa assures, “He’s gonna have a real dad — not like it was for me.” Those who know how the story ends will understand the irony of that line.
Cherry Jones, Bradley Whitford, Maddie Hasson and Wren Schmidt co-star in the film from director and first-time feature writer Marc Abraham. Sony Pictures Classics opens RatPac Entertainment’s I Saw the Light on March 25. Check out the trailer, and tell us what you think.