Actor Tom Hiddleston explores tragic life of country singer Hank Williams

Fri Oct 23, 2015 9:03am EDT
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By Tim Ghianni

NASHVILLE, Tenn (Reuters) - When British actor Tom Hiddleston was tasked with portraying country music legend Hank Williams, whose tragic, short life was marred by adultery, alcohol and drugs, he wanted to do it as objectively as possible.

"It is the responsibility of the actor to tell the truth and to not judge a character," Hiddleston, who plays Williams in the drama film "I Saw the Light," told Reuters.

"Everybody has his bad days ... I have something in me that makes sure I can control my impulses."

"I Saw the Light," which premiered last week in Nashville, details the meteoric rise and fall of Williams, from his breakthrough in the 1940s to his death at age 29 from heart failure in the back seat of his powder-blue Cadillac on New Year's Day in 1953.

It is the latest leading role for Hiddleston, who is best known as the villainous Loki in Marvel films, commands a loyal fanbase of 'Hiddlestoners' and can currently be seen as the seductive Thomas Sharpe in gothic romance "Crimson Peak."

The 34-year-old Londoner said he mastered Williams' southern Alabama drawl with help from Nashville singer-songwriter Rodney Crowell, who schooled him in all things Hank Williams.

"It was like climbing up a mountain,” Hiddleston said.

Williams' story has been told before, but director Marc Abraham said he tried to understand the contradictions of a man who released God-reflecting tunes like "I Saw The Light," while boozing, popping pills and womanizing his way through "Lovesick Blues" and "Honky-Tonkin'."   Continued...

Actor Tom Hiddleston arrives at the British Academy of Film and Arts (BAFTA) awards ceremony at the Royal Opera House in London February 8, 2015. REUTERS/Toby Melville