The I Saw The Light biopic on the life of Hank Williams is currently being shot in and around Shreveport, Louisiana, and the town is all abuzz from numerous scenes being filmed at local landmarks and road closures diverting traffic from areas the production company has set up shop for the day. Information and pictures from the set have been slow in coming for curious fans hoping to get a glimpse of what they might expect from the movie that is set to be released some time in 2015, but one of the actors, Austin Haley, who is playing “Dwayne” in the film has offered his initial take on how the movie is going, and how the film’s director Marc Abraham, and lead Tom Hiddleston (playing Hank) are faring with the task.
“This production is operating like a well oiled machine. From bottom to top,” Haley said on IMDb. “Marc Abraham is an incredible producer/director. His DP has been nominated for 2 academy awards and is about to get a lifetime achievement award. The rest of the cast and crew are very experienced and gracious. I’m not sure how exactly this will end up, borrowing no tragedy striking the set. But this is Marc Abraham’s time to shine. He has produced/directed over 40 films. This project will have legs (long lanky Hiddleston legs) and may even be considered for a nomination from the academy. Just seems that way from the feel of the set. Working on a special project.”
Austin Haley appeared on the Soap Opera Series’ Another World from 1995-1996, and played Zack Austin on One Life to Live from 1997 to 2000. He also appeared in the movies The Kings of Brooklyn (2004) and Chasing the White Dragon (2008). Haley also offered his assessment of Tom Hiddleston as Hank Williams—a pick that has caused some controversy, especially with Hank’s grandson Hank Williams III, or Hank3.
“Tom came into the make trailer, sat and played for us. The hair on the back of my neck stood up (which was good for stylist she could cut it then)… As far as Hank3 is concerned. Hell I wouldn’t even got to him for advice on music much less on who should make a movie. Marc Abraham is in Film Making not ‘wet dream’ making. McConaughey is a great actor. But no one would sit in the theatre thinking ‘hey that is Hank Sr.’. You couldn’t separate the actor from the story. I guess that’s what makes Marc a great story teller. He got Tom on his way up. In 5 years couldn’t get Tom. He will be to big too. Plus McConaughey is too old.”
Hank3 has openly criticized the casting of the British-born Tom Hiddleston for the Hank Williams role, believing an American would be more fit for the position. Though he initially proffered up Mathew McConaughey as a possible replacement, he has since explained it was simply an example of a Southern-born American who may be a better fit, not a specific suggestion. Hank3 says he was never contacted by the production company to offer any suggestions or guidance to the movie.
“There’s two Hank Williams walking this earth right now,” Hank3 said to Saving Country Music in September, referring to himself and his father Hank Williams Jr.—neither of which were consulted on the film. Americana artist Rodney Crowell has been working as the primary music consultant to the movie and Tom Hiddleston on how to pull off the role of Hank.
“For some reason, this is really bothering me,” continues Hank3. “I don’t know why. I don’t have anything to lose or gain from it. But for the approach that is happening with this movie is just not sitting right with me. And it’s not just me. There’s a lot of people I talk to out there that just don’t understand it. And this isn’t about Tom [Hiddleston]. This is about the choice. I’m not out to diss his acting or anything like that… I guess I’m so vocal about it because I care, and I want to see the best movie made.”
Austin Haley went on to praise all the actors working on the movie, including the leading ladies Maddie Hasson playing Billie Jean, and Elizabeth Olsen playing Audrey Williams. “And all the supporting Actresses and Actors… All generous and professional… An army is only as good as its General. Marc Abraham is a dam fine leader and brings an attitude of pin point vision and kindness. Which translates to the rest of this unit.”