An old two-story white house sits on a highway in Alabama; it looks to be in need of a fresh coat of paint, but the early 1900’s era home has potential.
The signs of autumn pepper the front yard with all the beautiful colors of orange, brown and yellow. The sun radiates through stately trees whispering as the breeze carries their fallen leaves along its path.
“Cut!” the director yells.
People scramble to get ready for the next scene as others wait to find out their next move.
The old two-story white house is the scene for a movie on a legendary country star. Except the house is in Minden, Louisiana, being used in a film about that legendary country star – Hank Williams Sr.
“I Saw the Light” is a biographical film that chronicles his rise to fame and ultimately the tragic effect it had on his health. The film stars Tom Hiddleston as Hank Sr., Elizabeth Olsen as Audrey Mae Williams (Hank’s first wife) and Maddie Hasson as Billie Jean (Hank’s second wife). Hank and Audrey had a son, the now famous Hank Williams Jr. He later had a daughter by girlfriend Bobbie Jett.
The film is directed by Marc Abraham.
Born Hiram King Williams, Hank rose to stardom at the tender age of 25 and died when he was 29. He was born in Mount Olive, Ala., in 1923, was small in stature and suffered from spina bifida, a debilitating birth defect in which the spine is literally split. According to the Spina Bifida Association, this split happens while the baby is still in the womb. The spinal column does not completely close.
Biographers indicate he suffered from alcoholism and was allegedly addicted to painkillers following a back injury.
Homeowners David and Ellen Parker, who live at 706 Lewisville Road, the home used in the film, said they are ecstatic about the experience.
“It’s an exciting experience,” David Parker said. “It’s interesting to see the whole process. You don’t realize what goes into it. Our son is in the industry, and now we really understand the relationships and the process.”
Slaid Parker, their son, lives in Shreveport.
Pattie Odom, economic/downtown development director for the City of Minden, said she’d worked with this particular scouting crew before, and they “are great.”
“This production company is very professional and very good at what they do,” she said. “It’s always good, and hopefully they spent some money in Minden. In the end, we’re getting ready to launch our (Northwest Louisiana Film Trail) for tourism. The more people that like Minden, the more we can draw to Minden.”
Lynn Dorsey, executive director of the Webster Parish Convention and Visitors Bureau, said she is thrilled about portions of the movie being filmed in Webster Parish.
“We are thrilled to have our 26th film shot partially in Webster Parish to add to our Northwest Louisiana Film Trail,” she said. “We hope it will be a hit movie so it will bring more national and international recognition to Webster Parish.”
Several stars have come through Webster Parish including Kevin Costner and Ashton Kutcher when they filmed “The Guardian,” Sandra Bullock in “Premonition,” Katie Holmes, Denzel Washington, Jack Black and many others.
The Northwest Louisiana Film Trail comprises much of northwest Louisiana from Shreveport/Bossier City to Webster Parish.