The Brit Portraying Hank Williams

Tom Hiddleston Portraying Hank Williams

Photo Credit: Hollywood Reporter

A question often asked of I Saw the Light is, “How can a British actor play such an iconic American legend?” Well the answer seems to be: quite well.

Tom Hiddleston, known for his role as Loki in Thor and The Avengers, and for his role in Guillermo del Toro’s Crimson Peak, takes his craft very seriously. He said he understood the gravity of the character and did extensive research into who Hank Williams was as a man. Tom spoke with Holly Williams, Hank’s granddaughter, about his performance and says he thinks “she’s really proud of it and she feels like I did him proud.”

I Saw the Light is a biopic focusing on the career of Hank Williams, an iconic country musician who is “regarded as one of the most influential American singer-songwriters of the 20th century.” The film begins with Hank’s marriage to his first wife, Audrey (portrayed by Elizabeth Olsen), and follows through until his death at the age of 29.

To learn the American accent and how to sing like the great Hank Williams, Tom worked with — and even lived with — Rodney Crowell, the film’s executive music producer, and seems to have really captured Hank’s “Alabama-fed, nasal yodel.”

As a result, Tom performs all of his own songs in I Saw the Light and the yodel is very real, as he proved on last night’s episode of Jimmy Kimmel Live.

While Tom and Elizabeth are receiving high praise from the critics, the film itself seems to have fallen short of what fans were hoping it would be. One critic writes, “There are no big themes, no great insights. This isn’t a script, it’s a timeline.”

Many critics seem to agree that the film comes across as “episodic” and loosely strung together with very little information to tie the events into a streamlined story.

I Saw the Light originally premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival last year and was set to be released in theaters in the winter of 2015, but was pushed back and will be opening in theaters this Friday.