Tom Hiddleston on Playing Hank Williams: "I Threw Myself at the Role With All My Heart and Soul"

Courtesy of Toronto International Film Festival
'I Saw the Light'

"I understand the huge responsibility to Hank Williams and his family," he told THR of the role.

Thor and Avenger fans couldn't get enough of Tom Hiddleston at the I Saw the Light party Friday night at the Addison Residences on Wellington Street in Toronto.

Hiddleston was also surrounded by Sony Pictures Classics co-presidents Tom Bernard and Michael Barker, who nabbed the rights to the Hank Williams biopic, co-star Elizabeth Olsen, director Marc Abraham and producers Brett Ratner of RatPac Entertainment and Aaron L. Gilbert of Bron Studios at the Lacoste/Ciroc-presented bash featuring the latter's vodka cocktails.

"I understand the huge responsibility to Hank Williams and his family, and threw myself at the role with all my heart and soul," Hiddleston told The Hollywood Reporter about swapping his Shakespearean lilt for his best Southern twang to play the Alabama-born country legend. One fan called out to Hiddleston, who had to learn to croon for I Saw the Light, to ask his favorite Hank Williams ditty.

"'Cold, Cold Heart,' " he answered, later reciting lyrics from that catchy tune. Hiddleston also turned aside criticism from Williams' grandson, Shelton Hank Williams III, over his singing style during an earlier concert performance by pointing to a letter received last week from singer-songwriter Holly Williams, the granddaughter of Hank Williams.

"She loved [the movie]. I was touched by what she wrote," Hiddleston said.

Director Abraham, who focused on Williams' marital woes and addictions to portray a troubled artist who died when only 29 years-old, was filled with emotion during the post-premiere party. "It's incredibly accurate," Abraham said of his biopic, before explaining why Williams's life was likely to connect with today's movie audiences after the November release.

"His suffering. All of us feel some pain. And now you hear someone sing so well about what hurts in our lives," he explained. 

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