I love old timey country music. I get it from my dad—he loves Woody Guthrie and Willie Nelson and Carl Perkins. He gave me all his Johnny Cash records when I was a kid, and even though he prefers to drive in silence, on road trips he would play Hank Williams because he knew I liked to have music in the car and that was all he could stand to listen to while driving. Hank Williams recorded 35 songs before his death in 1952—100 minutes of music, give or take, playing on a loop for however long it took us to get where we were going. I don’t just love Hank Williams, I KNOW Hank Williams.
So the prospect of a Hank Williams biopic is exciting. Deadline is reporting that Tom Hiddleston has signed on to play Williams in I Saw the Light, slated for 2015, and he’ll be singing, too. On an acting level, I’m into it. He’s a good actor, and he did the destructive musician thing very well in Only Lovers Left Alive, so I don’t doubt his ability to inhabit Williams without it feeling like an elaborate impression. And physically he bears a passing resemblance to Williams, which is a bonus.
But I’m worried about the singing. Hank Williams had a distinctive voice, and Hiddles…is not a great singer:
He doesn’t have to sound exactly like Williams, but he has to do well enough to not take us out of the story because of it. Hiddleston is a brilliant mimic, but overcoming an accent and singing is tough. I don’t care about a Brit playing an American icon, just please don’t suck. Please, please—don’t suck.