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Home / Career / Film Productions
I Saw The Light
003.jpg Original Release: March 25, 2016
Genre: Biography | Drama | Music
Running time: 123 minutes
Directed by: Marc Abraham
Written by: Marc Abraham
Produced by: Marc Abraham, Aaron L. Gilbert
Brett Ratner, G. Marq Roswell
Distributed by: Sony Pictures Classics
Budget: $13 million
Box Office
: $1.8 million

The story of the country-western singer Hank Williams, who in his brief life created one of the greatest bodies of work in American music. The film chronicles his rise to fame and its tragic effect on his health and personal life.

Cast & Characters

Tom Hiddleston (Hank Williams), Elizabeth Olsen (Audrey Sheppard Williams), Cherry Jones (Lillie Skipper Williams), Bradley Whitford (Fred Rose), Maddie Hasson (Billie Jean), Wrenn Schmidt (Bobbie Jett), David Krumholtz (James Dolan), Josh Pais (Dore Schary), James DuMont (WB Nolan), Casey Bond (Jerry Rivers), Jayson Warner Smith (Hank Snow), Michael Rinne (Lum York), Joshua Brady (Sammy Pruett), Wes Langlois (Don Helms), Von Lewis (Ray Price), Fred Parker Jr. (Faron Young), Rob Boltin (Frank Walker).


Production Photos

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Production Notes

Director Marc Abraham began developing the film in 2009 and adapted the screenplay himself. In June 2014, producers secured the rights to Williams’ music for the film after making a deal with Sony ATV. Aaron L. Gilbert with Bron Studios will produce alongside Brett Ratner’s production company RatPac Entertainment, G. Marq Roswell and Abraham. Creative Wealth Media Finance will finance the film. On 12 June 2014, British actor Tom Hiddleston who was set to play Hank Williams, posted an image of himself on his Twitter account, dressed as Williams with the title of the film as the caption.

Hiddleston will sing his own music for the film, also taking on Williams’ southern accent. To prepare for the film and work on his singing and guitar playing, Hiddleston practiced with country singer Rodney Crowell. In July 2014, Crowell signed on to be the executive music producer for the film while Carter Little, who has worked with the Black Keys on The Man With the Iron Fists, signed on to serve as music supervisor. Crowell said of Hiddleston, “After nearly a month spent collaborating with this gifted artist, I’m as respectful of the man’s work ethic as I’m mystified by his transformational skills. Without a doubt, the filmmakers chose the right actor for the job.”

At the 2014 Wheatland Music Festival, Hiddleston sang “Move It on Over” and “Jambalaya (On the Bayou)”, promoting the film.

Casting for the film for extras and additional actors begin in September 2014. Casting was done by Legacy Casting and Tracy Kilpatrick of The Casting Office. On September 12, Rolling Stone announced that Elizabeth Olsen would be playing Audrey Williams, Hank’s wife, manager, duet partner.

Trivia

  • Both Tom Hiddleston and Elizabeth Olsen did their own singing.
  • In an interview with the New York Times, published on March 20, 2016, director Marc Abraham said he felt it was important to show the fiery nature of the relationship between Hank Williams and his first wife, Audrey. He said “That was the fire. That’s where the songs come from.”
  • The real Audrey Williams was several months older than Hank Williams. Tom Hiddleston is eight years older than Elizabeth Olsen.
  • Andalusia, Alabama, where Hank Williams marries Audrey at the beginning of the film, is 35 miles south of Georgiana, Alabama, Williams’ boyhood hometown.
  • Release & Reception

    The film was originally scheduled to be released on November 27, 2015, by Sony Pictures Classics. However, on October 16, the release date was pushed back to March 25, 2016.

    I Saw the Light received mixed to negative reviews from critics. On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has a 20% score based on 131 reviews, with an average rating of 4.6/10. The site’s consensus states: “I Saw the Light boasts a terrifically talented cast, but their performances aren’t enough to enliven an unfocused biopic that never comes close to capturing its subject’s timeless appeal.” Metacritic reports a 47 out of 100 rating based on 35 critics, indicating “mixed or average reviews”.

    Ignatiy Vishnevetsky of The A.V. Club criticized I Saw the Light for not having “a spark of insight or psychology to it,” and stated “no character in the film ever comes across as more than an accent.” Peter Travers of Rolling Stone gave the film one of four stars, stating “Not even a singin’, boozin’ Tom Hiddleston can save this tepid Hank Williams biopic from itself.”

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