Two of the last remaining important pieces in the cast of the upcoming biopic on the life of Hank Williams entitled I Saw The Light have been revealed.
Cherry Jones, best known for her Emmy-winning performance as a female President in the Fox series 24, and a five-time Tony award nominee for her work in stage performances on Broadway like The Heiress and Doubt, has been cast as Jessie Lillybelle “Lillie” Skipper Williams, otherwise known as Hank’s mother. Lillie ran a boarding house where Hank Williams grew up, which some accounts have being more of a brothel. With Hank’s father gone often working for the railroad company, and then being injured on the job and permanently hospitalized, Lillie Williams was Hank’s primary parental influence. She also encouraged Hank’s early musical development, giving meals to street performer Rufus “Tee-Tot” Payne in exchange for guitar lessons.
Bradley Whitford, known for his work on The West Wing will be playing songwriter and music publisher Fred Rose. Fred was inducted into the inaugural class of the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1961 along with Hank Williams, and wrote or co-wrote some of Hank’s most memorable songs, including “I’ll Never Get Out Of This World Alive,” “Settin’ The Woods on Fire,” “Kaw-Liga,” and “Crazy Heart.” Fred Rose founded the famous Acuff/Rose publishing company with performer Roy Acuff, and set the standard for music publishing that is still in practice today. Rose was also a mentor and friend of Hank Williams, and that relationship will undoubtedly be seminal to the I Saw The Light script.
Cherry Jones and Bradley Whitford will be joining British actor Tom Hiddleston playing Hank Williams in the film, Elizabeth Olsen playing Audrey Williams, Maddie Hasson as Billie Jean Horton, and four more actors announced in important roles.
Hank Williams III, the grandson of Hank Williams, has been a vocal opponent of the pick of the British-born Tom Hiddleston to play his grandfather. Last week, actor Austin Haley who is cast to play a character “Dwayne” was critical of Hank3, saying, “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.”
I Saw The Light is being produced and directed by Marc Abraham, who also adapted the screenplay from Colin Escott’s Hank Williams biography. The movie is currently shooting in Shreveport, Louisiana, and is set to be released in 2015.