Anticipation was very high when Tom Hiddleston took the stage at the premiere of “I Saw the Light” at the Toronto Film Festival last fall.
Media before its screening hyped the movie — in which Hiddleston plays country singer Hank Williams, who tragically died at the height of his stardom at 29 — as an Oscar contender, with the British star as a shoo-in for a best actor nomination.
But by the time the lights came up, reaction wasn’t what Hiddleston or the filmmakers had hoped for. Oscar talk quickly vanished, and Sony pushed the release date to early 2016, skpping the awards fray.
Business Insider recently sat down with Hiddleston during the Tribeca Film Festival to talk about his latest release “High-Rise” (available on demand April 28 and in theatres May 13). But it was obvious the poor response to “I Saw the Light” was still on his mind.
“The difference between me and you and whoever watches that film is that film took me six months to make,” Hiddleston said, referring to how long it took for him to talk, sing, and play the guitar like Williams. “I took six months of my life and I thought about nothing else every day for six months, and for anyone in the audience, it’s two hours of screen time. As Mike Nichols used to say, ‘You can make the best film in the entire world and people will still say afterward, ‘Is there anywhere that’s open for a drink?’ It’s part of the rhythm of their day. So of course I put so much into it and it would be lovely to think more people have seen it than I believe they have. The people I’ve spoken to about the movie have at least caught the passion for which it was made and then of course there are other people who I don’t know personally who have found fault or flaws in it, but I can’t be the judge. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion.”
Hiddleston certainly seems to have perspective on the flop. But he also doesn’t really have time to dwell on it. He’s currently starring in just about everything, from the AMC miniseries “The Night Manager” currently airing to returning as Loki for “Thor: Ragnarok,” which starts production soon.
But he was still hanging on to “I Saw the Light” and its reaction as I left his hotel room after the interview was over.
“You know, it’s a funny thing, I’ve been hearing that people are positive toward how I did in ‘The Night Manager,’ and I didn’t do more or less with that than for ‘I Saw the Light,'” he said. “As an actor, you can never tell. It’s really anyone’s guess how people will react.”
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