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TIFF 2015: Tom Hiddleston, I Saw the Light star, was cast as Hank Williams

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Sam Emerson

Fans know Tom Hiddleston as an accomplished actor, Shakespeare devotee, and Avengers evildoer, but he’s got a few more tricks up his sleeve in I Saw The Light. Hiddleston plays legendary country singer Hank Williams in the Marc Abraham film, and does his own singing in the process. How did Abraham know the British star could play someone so quintessentially American?

“When I met him, it was a completely gut reaction,” Abraham said at the PEOPLE, InStyle and Entertainment Weekly’s photo studio in Toronto on Saturday. “I had seen him in a couple of films — this was before he popped. […] I just kept going, ‘That guy is so charismatic.’ When I sat with him, we had dinner for two or three hours. Halfway through the meal, I know this sounds hippie-dippy, but I had this really strong feeling that I was sitting with the person who should be this guy. His natural intelligence, his native instincts. At the end of it, I asked him if he wanted to do the movie. And he said, ‘Yes, but just give me some time to prepare for the reading. Promise me.’ And I said, ‘You don’t have to [read]. Let’s do it.”

Costarring Elizabeth Olsen, I Saw The Light is out later this year. Check out Abraham discussing the film above.

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