Tom Hiddleston on Hank Williams: he was “addicted to the darkness”

Hiddleston also described acting alongside co-star Elizabeth Olsen as like "playing tennis"

Tom Hiddleston has described Hank Williams as “addicted to darkness” during a press junket for a new film about the life of the troubled country singer.

The British actor, who plays the lead role in biopic I Saw The Light, was asked why he thought the influential musician was unable to pull back from the abyss in an interview with NME.

“I think there was something in him that was addicted to the darkness and that felt more real to him than everything else,” he said. “I truly don’t know. I think he was very frail. He wasn’t sober for long enough to see clearly what he had in front of him and how many people actually cared about him. He disappeared into a terrible vortex of addiction.”

Williams struggled with alcohol and drug addiction during his celebrated career. He died of heart failure, thought to have been exacerbated by alcoholism, in 1953 at the age of 29.

Hiddleston also talked about his on-screen relationship with Elizabeth Olsen, who plays William’s first wife, manager and duet partner Audrey Sheppard Williams. He compared working with Olsen to “a tennis rally”.

“I always say it’s like tennis. It is that thing of you serve, and then she would return and you return back. There’s a rally between you and then the rally’s over and Marc Abraham calls cut and you’re like ‘Wow that was really great, how do you feel about that?’,” he said.

The film’s supporting cast also includes Cherry Jones, Bradley Whitford and Bradley Whitford.

Hiddleston, who is known for his role as Loki in the Thor films, sings several of Williams’ classic songs in the film, but his casting was criticised by the singer’s grandson, Hank Williams III.

Last year, Hank Williams III wrote on Facebook: “To do a Hank Williams movie the way it should be done you need certain aspects in the mix to make right. It goes way beyond having an American to play the role of Hiram Hank Williams, Sr. for it to be somewhat natural. It needs to be an American from the South who has eat, lived and breathed these kind of roles before to make [a] more respectable movie on Hank Sr.”

Marc Abraham, best known as co-producer of 1991’s The Commitments, writes and directs the film, which is based on the book Hank Williams: The Biography by Colin Escott, George Merritt and William MacEwen.Video