British-born actor Tom Hiddleston, who starts shooting the Hank Williams biopic I Saw the Light next month in Louisiana, tested out his singing skills on concertgoers this past weekend with a surprise performance at Michigan’s Wheatland Music Festival.
The star, best known for his role as Loki in the Avengers films, took the stage to perform the 1947 Williams hit, “Move It on Over,” the first of the troubled entertainer’s string of hits in a recording career that ended with his death on New Year’s Day 1953 but to this day remains influential in both country music and rock & roll.
A fan captured footage of the 33-year-old film star performing (see below), and another concertgoer tweeted a photo of Hiddleston on stage with country great Rodney Crowell, who was strumming an acoustic guitar while the baddie from the Thor films sang “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry.” Crowell is serving as the film’s musical director and is also helping the lead actor get into character.
“[Crowell] came to visit me in Toronto where I was filming Crimson Pea, and we jammed for a day or so,” Hiddleston tells the Daily Mail. “It was spine-tingling just to spend a day playing some of Hank’s greatest hits like ‘Hey Good Lookin” and ‘Long Gone Lonesome Blues’ with such a gifted musician. He’s already expanded my vocal range and given me a few pointers about adapting my own tone to sound like Hank. Rodney has furnished me with his beautiful J45 Gibson to practice with, and he’ll be on hand throughout the shoot.”
I Saw the Light is based on a biography by Williams scholar Colin Escott (also a Brit). The film will detail the singer’s rise to stardom and the effects that years of substance abuse had on his life, which ended tragically at age 29.