In I Saw the Light, Hiddleston plays Hank Williams, chronicling his hugely influential musical career, turbulent private life, and the cycle of substance abuse, alcoholism, and addiction that led to his premature death. Hiddleston completely immersed himself in what may be the performance of a lifetime. He was given four months to prepare, and spent five weeks living in music producer Rodney Crowell’s guest room in Nashville, Tennessee. He lived and breathed the South, walked the walk and talked the talk. He faced the challenge of developing his rich British accent into the Southern drawl and matching Hank’s personal singing rhythm. He had to train to alter his natural baritone to meet Hank’s tenor, too. Hiddleston listened to Hank’s old records and radio shows, honed his guitar skills, sang, jammed, and fully committed to the role. As if all of that weren’t hard enough, he had to learn to yodel and shimmy. On top of all the tough preparation and acting, he also sang and recorded the songs heard in the movie.
I Saw the Light is based on the 1994 Williams biography by Colin Escott, George Merritt and William MacEwen. Written and directed by Marc Abraham, I Saw the Light focuses on the years between Williams’ marriage to Audrey and his death on New Year’s Day in 1953 at the age of 29.