At the Toronto International Film Festival, 'I Saw the Light' Director-screenwriter Marc Abraham talks about casting his film.
[BLANK_AUDIO] What's the greatest challenge? I think it's to decide upon your own interpretation of what you wanna do. The challenge is that once you know what you wanna do, the challenges become sorta more strategic. I think the challenges like How do you want to approach the subject? You can decide to say, oh, it starts when he's a little boy. And then he's taught how to play the guitar by an African American guy. Or you can decide to do what I did, which was pick it up the last six years of his life. So the decision was sort of and then The challenges. Again, it's all in sort of the idea behind the film. Do you want to, sort of, show all the high points and make it all about the music or do you wanna make it about the life behind the music? And assume that if you do that well enough, people will understand that's where the music came from. When I met him. It was a completely gut reaction. I had seen him in a couple of films and this was before he had popped. But I just was taken with him onscreen. I saw him in War Horse and saw him Terrence Davy's movie. And I just kept going, that guy is so charismatic. And I also noticed he had a resemblance to Hank. And when I sat with him we had dinner for about two or three hours. First time in Los Angeles. Halfway through the meal, I know this sounds sort of hippy gippy, but I had this really strong feeling that I was sitting with the person who should be this guy. Just his natural intelligence, his native instincts, the things he talked about after reading the script. And then watching him, just being in his presence, and at the end of it I ask him if he wanted to do the movie and he said, "yes, but just give me some time to prepare for the reading. Promise me," and I said, "you don't have to do it. You don't have to read. Just, let's do it."