The Hank Williams biopic, I Saw the Light, was supposed to come out in theaters Nov. 27, but it got pushed back to a March release back in October, possibly due to a lack of studio faith in the film.
It debuted at the Toronto Film Festival Sept. 11 to mixed to awful reviews. Most reviews praised Tom Hiddleston’s portrayal of Williams, but found the film to be less than the sum of its parts.
The film, which also stars Elizabeth Olsen as his wife, Audrey, is based on Colin Escott’s biography of the famed country singer and is set for a Nov. 27 wide release.
Light’s subject matter guaranteed lots of hype before filming even began. Music biopics have done well at the box office in the past, with a handful being released in the past two years alone, like Straight Outta Compton, Love & Mercy and Jersey Boys. For country music fans, Walk the Line is probably the most famous as of late.
No matter how I Saw the Light does at the box office, there’s always more room for movies about country musicians. Also, a George Jones biopic, which Jones began writing when he was alive, is currently in development.
This man’s life is the epitome of a country song. He played bars at night in high school while going to class by day, which eventually led to him being discovered by a record label. He’s been married three times and his last wife committed suicide. There’s no shortage of life events to pull from for a Gary Allan movie.
King George has starred in a movie about country music— 1992’s “Pure Country”— but a film about his rise to stardom and his legendary career would bring in millions.
The longevity of McGraw’s music career and his impact on 90s country as well as his budding film reputation would make this an easy sell. Maybe he could play himself in his own movie.
Nelson’s life is the stuff of legend. He was born during the Depression and raised by his grandparents. He wrote his first song at the tender age of 7. He would go on to write some of the genre’s most celebrated standards, like “Crazy” and “Pretty Paper,” and he was a pioneer of the Outlaw Country movement in the 60s and 70s. The man’s life story could probably fill two movies.
Brooks single-handedly changed the genre in the 90s. Nobody else was running around on stage with fire and rain set pieces or hanging from rafters in country music until Brooks brought in his brand of showmanship.
Shelton’s rise to fame and marriage and divorce to Miranda Lambert recalls a modern-day “Walk the Line”.
Waylon Jennings owes his success to Buddy Holly, and his life to the Big Bopper, who took his seat on the ill-fated plane crash dubbed “The Day The Music Died.” Jennings was a radio DJ before Holly hired him to play bass. Before the fateful crash, Holly ribbed Jennings for giving up his spot, causing Jennings to playfully retort, “I hope your ol’ plane crashes.” The incident haunted Jennings the rest of his celebrated career.
Charley Pride rose to fame despite rampant racism in a historically white genre. One of 11 children born to poor sharecroppers, an arm injury forced Pride away from a baseball career. He picked cotton and worked at a smelting plant until moving to Nashville. The industry was afraid of Pride, releasing his debut single without any pictures so listeners wouldn’t know he’s black. To this day, Pride is only one of three African Americans to be inducted to the Grand Ole Opry.
“Straight Outta Compton” set box office records this summer for its portrayal of a group of up-and-coming artists joining to create a new sound. A movie about the Highwaymen, composed of Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash and Kris Krisofferson, would reverse-engineer that process and be about four successful artists who band together to improve each other’s sound. It wouldn’t be too dramatic, but it would be fun to watch.
McEntire’s mother wanted to be a country singer, but opted to be a school teacher instead. She taught her children how to sing, and when Reba was discovered after singing the National Anthem at the National Rodeo in Oklahoma City, her career took off. A look at that mother-daughter relationship throughout Reba’s career would make for excellent viewing.
Next: 10 Incredible Success Stories in Country Music