The saga continues around the casting of Tom Hiddleston as the iconic Hank Williams for an upcoming biopic on country’s first superstar called I Saw The Light. Though filming isn’t even scheduled to start for another few weeks, the concerns of having a British native play the park of Hank has some country music fans in a stir.
The grandson of Hank Williams, Hank Williams III (or Hank3), spoke out previously about the casting, worried that Hiddleston was not the right person for the part.
“To do a Hank Williams movie the way it should be done you need certain aspects in the mix to make right,” said Hank3. “It goes way beyond having an American to play the role of Hiram Hank Williams, Sr. for it to be somewhat natural, needs to be an American from the South who has eat lived and breathed these kind of roles before to make more respectable movie on Hank Sr.”
Hank3 suggested that recent Oscar winner Matthew McConaughey could do it, though he said this was only a suggestion, not a specific request.
Over the weekend, video surfaced of Tom Hiddleston making a surprise appearance at the Wheatland Music Festival in Michigan on Saturday (9-7) where performed a rendition of the Hank Williams classic “Move It On Over.” On Sunday, Hiddleston returned to Wheatland with mentor Rodney Crowell who has been personally working with Hiddleston to sing a version of “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry.”
Since then Hank3 has responded yet again. In a comment right here on Saving Country Music, and on his personal Facebook page, Hank3 said, “You got no soul or moan in your voice,” in response to Tom Hiddleston’s video, and posted a video of himself singing Hank Sr.’s “Long Gone Lonesome Blues” from his Live in Scotland album.
UPDATE: Hank3 has subsequently added in another comment on Saving Country Music:
Its very simple to make a great movie you start off with great foundation. And as far as a European actor playing a American Icon in my eyes that in its self is a super weak foundation for a Country Music Icon. My view on that alone topic alone will never change no matter who the European actor is. If it was your family being represented by a outsider you might have the same feelings. Keep that in mind.
Tom Hiddleston has done his best to reassure fans that he will do the best job he can portraying the Hillbilly Shakespeare. Tom said in late June,
The film is about the man behind the myth, the power of his music, the sheer voltage of his talent and charisma, and his formidable demons,” Hiddleston says. “He worked hard, played hard, lived hard there were women, there was whiskey but when he sang about being in the doghouse in ‘Move It On Over’, or about his heartbreak in ‘I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry’, it came from an honest place. Hank’s life has a tragic arc, but in simple truth, he was a genius: a star that burned twice as bright and lived half as long. It’s a huge role for me and a huge responsibility. I’m going to give it everything I’ve got.”
The role of Hank Williams is likely to be a discussion point all the way up to the release of the film. The production for I Saw The Light has already secured the rights to Hank’s songs from publishing company Sony ATV, and have said that along with Hank’s original recordings, Hiddleston will be performing certain songs in the movie live.
Hank3 is currently getting ready to leave on tour.