Biopics of famous musicians don’t always translate to big box office, but the awards committees love them and there aren’t many big names in the business who wouldn’t jump at the chance to personify a musical icon. In the past decade we’ve seen Jamie Foxx and Reese Witherspoon nab Oscars for playing Ray Charles and June Carter Cash (respectively), Joaquin Phoenix get snubbed by the Academy for his fantastic performance as Johnny Cash in Walk the Line, and the further likes of Control, Nowhere Boy, Notorious, and Todd Haynes’ impressionistic Bob Dylan film I’m Not There. This August, Get On Up will bring the life story of James Brown to the big screen with Chadwick Boseman in the role, while Andre Benjamin plays the greatest guitar player in the history of rock (in my opinion) in the John Ridley (12 Years a Slave)-directed Jimi: All is by My Side.
The latest legend of music to get the big screen treatment is country great Hank Williams in I Saw the Light, to be directed by Marc Abraham, a well-known producer who made his feature directorial debut with 2008’s Flash of Genius. His credits as producer include Air Force One, The Rundown, Slither, Children of Men, The Last Exorcism and its 2013 sequel, Zack Snyder’s Dawn of the Dead remake, and the recent Robocop remake.