One of the movies about which I am most curious this Oscar season is I Saw The Light, a biopic about the legendary Hank Williams starring Tom Hiddleston as the great man himself. Hank Williams is a seminal figure in American pop culture history, creating music that defined not just country but many forms of pop to come - the roots of rock begin with Hank and stompers. Williams himself led a great life, one that ended far too soon, possibly as the result of a murder (depending on the conspiracy theory you like).
I have been unsure that Hiddleston could do Hank justice as a singer - after all, Hank had one of the most distinctive voices in recorded music history, a reedy, nasally twang that many have imitated, none have duplicated. Well, the first clip from I Saw The Light jumps right into it, showing Hank recording one of his most famous tracks, Move It On Over:
Here, for comparison, is the actual recording:
I have to say that Hiddleston sounds nothing like Hank. Just not at all. I'm trying to figure out how much of a problem this is; on the one hand it's like doing a Sinatra movie and having someone who sounds nothing like Frank do the singing, but on the other hand it's a movie and the important part is the acting and all that. But still, a big part of what makes Hank immortal is his sound, so shouldn't the movie try to nail that sound? It's like making a biopic about a painter and not using the actual paintings in it.
I'm still hopeful. Releasing this now allows me to get used to Hiddleston's take on Hank's voice, and allows me to walk into the movie with some expectations in check. Hopefully I can just approach the movie as a movie.