The movie about the life of Hank Williams is starting to account for as much drama as Hank did. Originally scheduled to be released on November 27th to give the film prime consideration during Oscar season, I Saw The Light starring Tom Hiddleston as Hank has now suddenly been moved back until March 25th, 2016. This is the news from the film’s distributor Sony Pictures Classics only six weeks before the film was set to hit theaters.
It is strange timing to say the least. The film has already debuted at the Toronto International Film Festival, and today (10-17), the film is set to make its Nashville premier at the historic Belcourt Theatre near Music Row. The film’s main cast, including Tom Hiddleston are “expected” to be in attendance for the red carpet ceremony, but the reason Sony Pictures is giving for the delaying the release is so that Hiddleston can better help promote the movie, which he can’t do at the moment due to his production commitments to the shooting of Kong: Skull Island.
Looming over this news are the terrible reviews the film received at the Toronto International Film Festival, including one critic describing the film as “shockingly bad.” Though many reviewers praised Hiddleston’s performance in the film, there was almost universal criticism of the screenplay, and reviewers said the film had no heartbeat. Rotten Tomatoes is currently scoring the film at an abysmal 31%. I Saw The Light was written and directed by Marc Abraham—a film producer who had only directed one film previously. It is based off the Hank Williams biography written by Colin Escott.
On Friday (10-16), Rolling Stone published an in-dept article by Chelsea Crowell—the daughter of country performer Rodney Crowell who was hired by the film to help train Tom Hiddleston how to best portray Hank Williams. It was part of the promotional roll out for the film, but now it all feels a little premature. Additional stills from the film were also released this week (see below). Hank’s grandaughter Holly Williams also came out on behalf of the film recently, saying, “I’m incredibly happy with the whole thing. I thought it was brilliant.”
Along with the Nashville premier, the film is also scheduled to be screened at the Austin Film Festival later this month. But the wide masses will have to wait a little bit longer to see the long awaited film about Hank.