Hank Williams biographical film
There has only been one biographical film of Hank Williams to date, with George Hamilton play the legendary singer in the 1964 film Your Cheatin' Heart, other than that there have been two documentaries looking at his life. I find that utterly surprising considering the bankable appeal there would be out of releasing a film and cashing in on the huge fan base.
It looks like that's about to happen as a biographical film of the man has been announced today. The key here is that the cooperation of the Hank Williams estate has been secured, and that means that the film can use any of his recordings for the film.
Marc Abraham will be writing the script and the production companies behind the deal have also secured the rights to the novel Hank Williams: The Biography by Colin Escott (Amazon.co.uk / Amazon.com) to provide a valuable resource for the story, a process that apparently took some five years to complete.
Variety have the story and reveal that while waiting for the rights to come together, something which meant bringing together the two sides of the disagreeable Williams' family, Abraham directed the film Flash of Genius. Speaking of he project he said:
"He was the first real star who went down as the result of his lifestyle, succeeded by Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison, Janis Joplin and Kurt Cobain…He destroyed himself, but for six years leading to his death, Hank had six songs each year in the top 10."
Hank Williams was a huge Country and Western star who secured eleven number ones, including one just after his death. He had a hard life though, surviving through the depression and suffering from spina bifida for which he relied on alcohol and morphine for pain relief, it is widely believed that this contributed to his death in 1953 at just 29.
It does seem strange that this legendary singer/songwriter has not seen many biographical films made of his life, but then that is true of so many musical stars. Why is that? Is it so complex to secure the rights to their life? Is it because of the musical rights and no one will make a biographical film without them?
Whatever the reason, Hank Williams is getting the biographical treatment some fifty-sex years after his death, and possibly even more. I suspect that when it does come out that there's going to be a huge audience for it and some very happy production companies.