Fred Rose & Hank Williams’ Mom Cast in “I Saw The Light” Biopic
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.
November 5, 2014 @ 3:14 pm
Fu** Austin Haley! I would only ask him for advice on sounding like a giant asshole. If Hank’s grandson has something to say, you shut your mouth and listen!
November 5, 2014 @ 7:27 pm
I’m with you, NEFF. Austin Haley looks like he sniffs bicycle seats.
But Cherry Jones is a fine actress. She’ll be o.k.
November 6, 2014 @ 5:59 am
But Cherry Jones is a lesbian, how could she possibly play a straight character?
Oh, I see… she is a Southern lesbian so all is good!
November 6, 2014 @ 9:39 am
Cherry Jones is a fine actress. Her private life isn’t any of my business. That
she is a Southerner is surely the greatest blessing that has been bestowed
You know, it is easy for anonymous people without real names to attack real people who have real names.
November 6, 2014 @ 11:58 am
I hope we can agree that the word “attack” is a little bit of an aggrandizement. While my comment was somewhat curt in hindsight, I didn’t mean any disrespect. I wanted to point out in a clever way the inherent problem with equating someone’s personal background with their ability to play a character.
Just as it’s none of our business as to her sexual orientation, you could also argue that it’s none of our business where she was born and raised. I am perhaps a bit sensitive, since in addition to being anonymous I am also not a Southerner (might be crazy but I ain’t dumb).
We do agree on one thing though. I, too, think Cherry Jones will be great as I enjoyed her very much in 24.
November 6, 2014 @ 12:18 pm
O.K., Big A, you are semi-forgiven. To me, a good actor who was born and raised
in New Jersey is going to play a New Jersey character with more authenticity than
an actor who is from North Carolina. There are surely exceptions, but I don’t know who they are….
Sexuality, where I come from, is a private matter. Live and let live, you know. Besides,
I’ve been in show business for 50 years. There ain’t nuthin’ I haven’t seen or heard.
But my point here, and Hank III’s point here has been simple. A performance is more that the mastery of an accent. In this case, it is the natural understanding of a complex culture, and then the mastery of the human being who came out of that culture. Cherry Jones is native to that understanding. Mr. Hiddleston is not. Plus, he can’t sing too hot.
Maybe that douchebag Austin Haley can dub his tunes for him and be featured on the CMA awards next year.
November 6, 2014 @ 1:00 pm
We’ll continue to disagree on the prerequisite to be from the South, but we now agree on two things: Austin Haley is definitely a douchebag.
November 6, 2014 @ 3:35 pm
Wouldn’t it be awful if they made a movie based on the iconic Southern novel “Gone with the Wind” with an Ohioan playing Rhett Butler and a Brit playing Scarlett O’Hara? I’ll bet it would be a total stink bomb that nobody would watch.
Bigfoot is Real (and getting the vapors)
November 7, 2014 @ 9:23 am
Agreed Tom!!! Truly an outlandish idea. Nearly as crazy as say an Englishman playing Ashley Wilkes or a New York yankee playing Boss Hogg (now there’s a recipe for failure).
November 5, 2014 @ 4:20 pm
I’m not familiar with Tom Hiddleston, but I like the addition of Cherry Jones and Bradley Whitford. Both are good actors. I think this could be a first-rate movie. Looking forward to seeing it next year.
November 5, 2014 @ 6:52 pm
Tom Hiddleston is the actor that played Loki in the Thor movies and the Avengers movie.
November 6, 2014 @ 5:24 am
Oh joy. Can’t wait to see how 3 shits on these people for no reason!
November 6, 2014 @ 6:57 am
I’m not aware of Hank3 weighing in on any of the other casting choices. Just Hiddleston.